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Oft, 



ALTARS OF SACRIFICE. 



BY THE AUTHOE OF « BEULAH." 



" We have all to be lakl upon an altar; we have all, as it were, to be subjected to the action 

of fire." — Mklyill. 



SECOND EDITION. 



RICHMOND: 

WEST & JOHNSTON, 145 MAIN STREET. 

1865. 



1 A A R I A 



6r, 



ALTARS OF SACRIFICE. 



BY THE AUTHOR OF "BEULAH." 



"We have all to be laid upon an altar; we have, all, as it were, to he subjected to the action 

of fire." — Melvill. 



SECOND EDITION. 



EICHMO N J) : 

"WEST & JOHNSTON, 145 MAIN STREET. 

1864. 



Evans & Cogswell, Printers, 
Columbia, S. C. 



TO THE 

AEMY OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY, 

who have delivered the south fkom despotism, and who have won for 

generations yet unborn the precious guerdon of 

Constitutional Republican Liberty:. 

TO THIS VAST LEGION OF HONOR, 

WHETHER LIMPING ON CRUTCHES THROUGH 

THE LAND THEY HAVE SAVED AND IMMORTALIZKD, 

OR SURVIVING UNINJURED TO SHARE THE BLESSINGS THEIR 

UNEXAMPLED HEROISM BOUGHT, OR SLEEPING DREAMLESSLY IN NAMELESS 

MARTYR-GRAVES ON HALLOWED BATTLE-FIELDS WHOSE 

HISTORIC MEMORY SHALL PERISH ONLY WITH 

THE REMNANTS OF OUR LANGUAGE, 

THESE PAGES ARE 

GRATEFULLY AND REVERENTLY DEDICATED 

BY ONE WHO, ALTHOUGH DEBARRED FROM THE 

DANGERS AND DEATHLESS GLORY OF THE " TENTED FIELD," 

WOULD FAIN OFFER A WOMAN'S INADEQUATE TRIBUTE TO THE NOBLE 

PATRIOTISM AND SUBLIME SELF-ABNEGATION OF HER 

DEAR AND DEVOTED COUNTRYMEN. 



MACARIA. 



CHAPTER I. 

The town-clock was on the last stroke of 
twelve, the solitary candle measured but two 
inches from its socket, and, as the summer 
wind rushed through the half-closed shutters, 
the melted tallow dripped slowly into the 
brightly-burnished brazen candlestick. The 
flickering light fell upon grim battalions of 
figures marshalled, on the long blue-lined 
pages of a ledger, and flashed fitfully on the 
lace of the accountant as he bent over his 
work. In these latter days of physical degen- 
eration, such athletic frames as his are rarely 
seen among the 3 r outh of our land. Sixteen 
years growth had given him unusual height 
and remarkable breadth of chest, and it was 
difficult to realize that the stature of manhood 
had been attained by a mere boy in years. A 
gray suit (evidently home-made), of rather 
coarse texture, bespoke poverty ; and, owing 
to the oppressive heat of the atmosphere, the 
coat was thrown partially off. He wore no 
vest, and the loosely-tied black ribbon suf- 
fered the snowy white collar to fall away from 
the throat and expose its well-turned outline. 
The head was large, but faultlessly proportion- 
ed, and the thick* black hair, cut short and 
clinging to the temples, added to its massive- 
ness. The lofty forehead, white and smooth ; 
the somewjiat heavy brows, matching the hue 
of the hair ; the straight, finely-formed nose, 
with its delicate but clearly-defined nostril, 
and full firm lips, unshaded by mustache, com- 
bined to render the face one of uncommon 
beauty. Yet, as he sat absorbed by his figures, 
there was nothing prepossessing or winning in 
his appearance ; for though you could not carp 
at the moulding of his features, you involun- 
tarily shrank from the prematurely grave, nay, 
austere expression which seemed habitual to 
them. He looked just what he was — youthful 
in months and years, but old in trials, sorrows, 
and labors ; and to one who analyzed his coun- 
tenance, the conviction was inevitable that his 
will was gigantic, his ambition unbounded, his 
intellect wonderfully acute and powerful. It 
is always sad to remark in young faces the ab- 
sence of that beaming enthusiasm which only 
a joyous heart imparts, and though in this in- 
stance there was nothing dark or sinister, you 



could not fail to be awed by the cold, dauntless 
resolution which said *so plainly, " I struggle, 
and shall conquer. I shall mount, though the 
world defy me." Although he had labored 
since dawn, there was no drooping of the 
muscular frame, no symptom of fatigue, save 
in the absolute colorlessness of his face. Firm, 
as some brazen monument on its pedestal he 
sat and worked on, one hand wielding the pen, 
the other holding down the leaves which flut- 
tered, now and then, as the breeze passed 
over them. 

" Russell, do you know it is midnight ?" 

He frowned, and answered without looking 
up— 

" Yes." 

" How much longer will you sit up V" 

" Till I finish my work." 

The speaker stood on the threshold, leaning 
against the door-facing, and, after waiting a 
few moments, softly crossed the room and put 
her hand on the back of his chair. She was 
two years his junior, and though evidently the 
victim of recent and severe illness, even in 
her feebleness she was singularly like him. 
Her presence seemed to annoy him, for he 
turned round arfd saiil hastily : 

" Electra, go to bed. I told you good-night 
three hours ago." 

She stood still, but silent. 

" What do you. want ?" 

" Nothing." 

He wrote on for some ten minutes longer, 
then closed the ledger and put it aside. The 
candle had burned low ; he took a fresh one 
from the drawer of the table, and, after light- 
ing it, drew a Latin dictionary near to him, 
opened a worn copy of Horace, and began to 
study. Quiet as his own shadow stood the 
fragile girl behind his chair, but as she watch- 
ed him a heavy sigh escaped her. Once more 
he looked up with a finger still in the diction- 
ary, and asked impatiently : 

" Why on earth don't you go to sleep ?" 

" I can't sleep ; I have tried my best." 

"Are you sick again, my poor little cousin ?" 

He stretched out his arm and drew her close 
to him. 

u No ; but I know you are up, hard at work, 
and it keeps me awake. If you would only 
let me help you." 



MACARIA. 



"But you can't help me; I have told you 
so time and again. You only interrupt and 
hinder me." 

She colored, and bit her lip ; then answered, 
sorrowfully : 

" If I thought I should be weak and sickly 
all my life, I would rather die at once and 
burden you and Auntie no longer." 

" Eleetra, who told you that you burdened 
me ?" 

" Oh, Russell ! don't I know how hard you 
have to work ; and how difficult it is for you 
to get even bread and clothes. Don't I sec 
how Auntfe labors day after day, and month 
after month ? You arc good and kind, but 
does that prevent my feeling the truth, that 
you are working for me too V If I could only 
help you in some way." She knelt down by 
his chair and leaned her head on his knee, 
holding his hands between both hers. 

" Electra, you do help me ; all day long 
when I am at the store your face haunts me, 
strengthens me ; I feel that I am striving to 
give you comforts, and when at night you 
meet me at the gate, I am repaid for all I 
have done. You must put this idea out of 
your head, little one ; it is altogether a mis- 
take. Do you hear what I say ? Get up and 
go to sleep like a good child, or you will have 
another wretched headache to-morrow, and 
can't bring me my lunch." 

He lifted her from the floor and kissed her 
hastily. She raised her arms as if to wind 
them about his neck, but his grave face gave 
her no encouragement; and turning away she 
retired to her room, with hot tears rolling over 
her cheeks. Russell had scarcely read half a 
dozen lines afcer his cousin's departure when 
a soft hand swept back the locks of hair on 
his forehead and wiped away the heavy drops 
that moistened them. » 

"My son, you promised me you would not 
sit up late to-night." 

" Well, Mother, I have almost finished. Re- 
member the nights are very short now, and 
twelve o'clock comes early." 

" The better reason that you should not be 
up so late. My son, I am afraid you will ruin 
your health by this unremitting application." 

" Why — look at me. I am as strong as an 
Athlete of old." He shook his limbs and smiled, 
proud of his great physical strength. 

" True, Russell; but, robust as you are, you 
can not stand such toil without detriment. 
Put up your books." 

" ISJot yet ; I have more laid out, and you 
know I invariably finish all I set apart to do. 
But, Mother, your hand is hot; you are not 
well." 

He raised the thin hand and pressed it to 
his lips. 

"A mere headache, nothing more. Mr. 
Clark was here to-day ; he is very impatient 
about the rent ; I told him we were doing all 
we could, and thought that by September we 



should be able to pay the whole* He spoke 
of going to see you, which I urged him not 
to do, as you were exerting yourself to tje 
utmost." 

She scanned his face while she spoke, and 
noted the compression of his mouth. He knew 
she watched him, and answered with a forced 
smile : 

" Yes, he came to the store this morning. I 
told him we had been very unfortunate this 
year in losing our only servant ; and that 
sickness had forced us to incur more expense 
than usual. However, I drew fifty dollars and 
paid him all I could. True, I anticipated my 
dues, but Mr. 'Watson gave me permission. 
So for the present you need not worry about 
rent." 

" What is the amount of that grocery-bill 
you would not let me see last week ?" 

" My dear mother, do not trouble yourself 
with these little matters ; the grocery-bill will 
very soon be paid. I have arranged with Mr. 
Hill to keep his books at night, and, therefore, 
you may be easy. Trust all to me, Mother ; 
only take care of your dear self, and 1 ask no 
more." 

" Oh, Russell! my son, my son !" 

She had drawn a chair near him, and now 
laid her head on his shoulder, while tears 
dropped on his hand. He had not seen her 
so unnerved for years ; and as he looked down 
on her grief-stained, yet resigned face, his 
countenance underwent a marvellous change ; 
and, folding his arms about her, he kissed her 
pale, thin cheek repeatedly. 

" Mother, it is not like, you to repine in this 
way ; you who have suffered and endured so 
much must not despond, when, after a long, 
starless night, the day begins to dawn." 

" I fear 'it dawns in clouds and heralds only 
storms.' For myself I care not, but for you, 
Russell— my pride, my only hope, my brave 
boy ! it is for you that I suffer. I have been 
thinking to-night that this is a doomed place 
for you, and that if we could only save money 
enough to go to California, you might take 
the position you merit ; for there none would 
know of the blight which fell upon you: none 
could look on your brow and dream it seemed 
sullied. Here you have such bitter prejudice 
to combat; such gross injustice heaped upon 
you." 

He lifted his mother's head from his bosom 
and rose, with a haughty, defiant smile on his 
hp. 

'< Not so ; I will stay here and live down 
their hate. Mark me, Mother, I will live it 
down, so surely as I am Russell Aubrey, the 

despised son of a . Let them taunt and 

sneer ! let them rake up the smouldering ashes 
ot the miserable Past to fling in my face and 
blind me; let them, and welcome! I will 
gather up these same ashes, dry and bitter, and 
hide them with sacred zeal in a golden urn ; 
and I will wreathe it with chaplets that never 



MACARIA. 



die. Aye ! the Phoenix lies now in dust, but 
one day the name of Atibrey will rise in more 
than pristine glory ; and mine be the hand to 
resurrect its ancient splendor. ' Mens cujus- 
que is est quisque ! ' Menzikoff, who ruled the 
councils of the Kremlin in its palmiest days, 
once sold pies for a living in the streets of 
Moscow. ' Mens cujusque is est quisque !' I 
will owe no man thanks ; i;one shall point to 
me and say, ' He was drowning in the black, 
seething gulf of social prejudice, and I held 
out a finger, and clinging to it he lived.' Not 
so ! dollar for dollar, service for service, I will 
pay as I rise. I scorn to ask favors ; I am glad 
none are tendered me. I have a grim satisfac- 
tion in knowing that I owe no human being 
a kindness, save you, my precious mother. 
Go to California ! not I ! not I ! In this state 
will I work and conquer ; here, right here, I 
will plant my feet upon the necks of those 
that now strive* to grind me to the dust. I 
swore it over my father's coffin ! I tell you, 
Mother, 1 will trample out the stigma, for, 
thank God ! ' there is no free-trade measure 
which will ever lower the price of brains.' " 

" Hush, Russell ; you must subdue your fierce 
temper ; you must ! you must ! remember it 
was this ungovernable rage which brought dis- 
grace upon your young, innocent head. Oh ! 
it grieves me, my son, to see how bitter you 
have grown ; it wrings my heart to hear you 
challenge Fate, as you so often do. Once you 
were gentle and forgiving ; now scorn and de- 
fiance rule you." 

" I am not fierce ; I am not in a rage. Lay 
your hand on my temples— here on my wrist ; 
count the pulse, slow and steady, Mother, as 
your own. I am not vindictive ; am no Indian 
to bear about a secret revenge, ready to con- 
summate it at the first propitious moment. If 
I should meet.the judge and jury who doomed 
my father to the gallows, I think I would serve 
them if they needed aid. But I am proud ; I 
inherited my nature ; I writhe, yes, Mother, 
writhe~ under the treatment I constantly re- 
ceive. I defy Fate ? Well, suppose I do : she 
has done her worst. I have no quarrel with 
her for the past ; but I will conquer her in the 
future. I am riot bitter ; would I not give my 
life for you 'i Are you not dearer to me than 
my own soul ? Take back your words, they 
hurt me ; don't tell me that I grieve you, 
Mother." 

His voice faltered an instant, and he put his 
arms tenderly round the drooping form. 

" We have troubles enough, my son, with- 
out dwelling upon what is past and irremedi- 
able. So long as you seem cheerful, 1 am 
content. I know that God will not lay more 
on me than I can bear : ' as my day, so shall my 
strength be.' Thy will be done, oh ! my God." 

There was a brief pause, and Russell Au- 
brey passed his hand over his eyes and dashed 
oft" a tear. His mother watched him, and 
said cautiously : 



" Have you noticed that my eyes are rapid- 
ly growing worse ?" 

"• Yes, Mother ; I have been anxious for 
some weeks." 

" You know it all, then ?" 

" Yes, Mother." 

"I shall not murmur; I have become re- 
signed at last ; though for many weeks I have 
wrestled for strength, for patience. It was so 
exceedingly bitter to know that the time drew 
near when I should see you no more ; to feel 
that 1 should stretch out my hands to you, and 
lean on you, and yet look no longer on the 
dear face of my child, my boy, my all. But 
my prayers were heard ; the sting has passed 
away, and I am resigned. I am glad we have 
spoken of it; now my mind is calmer, and I 
can sleep. Good-night, my son." 

She pressed the customary good-night kiss 
on his lips, and left him. He closed the die- 
tioiiary, leaned his elbow on. the table, and 
rested his head on his hand. His piercing 
black eyes were fixed gloomily on the floor, 
and now and then his broad chest heaved as 
dark and painful thoughts crowded up. 

Mrs. Aubrey was the only daughter of 
wealthy and ambitious parents, who refused 
to sanction her marriage with the object of 
her choice, and threatened to disinherit her 
if she persisted in her obstinate course. Mr. 
Aubrey was poor, but honest, highly cultivat- 
ed, and, in every sense of that much-abused 
word, a gentleman. His poverty was not to 
be forgiven, however, and when the daughter 
left her father's roof, and wedded the man 
whom her parents detested, the die was cast ; 
she was banished for ever from a home of af- 
fluence, and found that she had indeed forfeit- 
ed her fortune. For this she was prepared, 
and bore it bravely ; but ere long severer 
trials came upon her. Unfortunately, her 
husband's temper was fierce and ungoverna- 
ble ; and pecuniary embarrassments rarely 
have the effect of sweetening such. He re- 
moved to an inland town and embarked in 
mercantile pursuits ; but misfortune followed 
him, and reverses came thick and fast. One 
miserable day, when from early morning every- 
thing had gone wrong, an importunate credi- 
tor, of wealth and great influence in the com- 
munity, chafed at Mr. Aubrey's tardiness in 
repaying some trifling sum, proceeded to taunt 
and insult him most unwisely. Stung to mad- 
ness, the wretched man resented the insults ; 
a struggle ensued, and at its close Mr. Aubrey- 
stood over the corpse of the creditor. There 
was no mode of escape, and the arm of the 
law consigned him to prison. During the te- 
dious weeks that elapsed before the trial, his 
devoted wife strove to cheer and encourage 
him by every effort which one human being 
can make ior another. Russell was about 
eleven years of age, and, boy though he was, 
realized most fully the horrors of his parent's 



MACARIA. 



situation. The days of the trial came at last ; 
but he had surrendered himself to the demon 
Eage— had taken the life of a fellow-creature ; 
what could legal skill accomplish ? The affair 
produced great and continued excitement; 
the murdered man had been exceedingly pop- 
ular, and the sympathies of the citizens were 
enlisted in behalf of his family. Although 
clearly a case of manslaughter only, the vio- 
lent prejudice of the community and the ex- 
ertions of influential friends so biassed the 
jury that, to the astonishment of the .counsel 
on both sides, the cry of " blood for blood " 
went out from that crowded court-room, and, 
in defiance of precedent, Mr. Aubrey was un- 
justly sentenced to be hung. When the ver- 
dict was known Russell placed his insensible 
mother on a couch, from which it seemed prob- 
able she would never rise. But there is an 
astonishing -amount of endurance in even a 
feeble woman's frame, and after a time she 
went about her house once more, doing her 
duty to her child and learning to " suffer and 
grow strong." Fate had ordained, however, 
that Russell's father should not die upon the 
gallows; and soon after the verdict was pro- 
nounced, when all Mrs. Aubrey's efforts to 
procure a pardon had proved unavailing, the 
proud and desperate man, in the solitude of 
his cell, with no eye but Jehovah's to witness 
the awful deedi the consummation of his woes, 
took his own life — with the aid of a lancet 
launched his guilty soul into eternity. On 
the floor of the cell was found a blurred sheet, 
sprinkled with blood, directed to his wife, bid- 
ding her farewell, and committing her and her 
boy to the care of an outraged and insulted 
God. Such was the legacy of shame which 
Russell inherited ; was it any marvel that at 
sixteen that boy had lived ages of sorrow ? 
Mrs. Aubrey found her husband's financial 
affairs so involved that she relinquished the 
hope of retaining the little she possessed, and 
retired to a small cottage, on the outskirts of 
the town, where she endeavored to support 
herself and the two dependent on her by tak- 
ing in sewing. 

Electra Grey was the orphan child of Mr. 
Aubrey's only sister, who dying in poverty be- 
queathed the infant to her brother. He had 
loved her as well as his own Russell ; and his 
wife, who cradled her in her arms and taught 
her to walk by clinging to her finger, would 
almost as soon have parted with her son as the 
little Electra. For five years the widow had 
toiled by midnight-lamps to feed these two ; 
now oppressed nature rebelled, the long over- 
taxed eyes refused to perform their office ; 
filmy cataracts stole over them, veiling their 
sadness and their unshed tears — blindness was 
creeping on. At his father's death Russell 
was forced to quit school, and with some diffi- 
culty he succeeded in obtaining a situation in 
a large dry-goods store, where his labors were 
onerous in the extreme and his wages a mere 



pittance. To domineer over those whom ad- 
verse fortune places under their control is by 
no means uncommon among ignorant and sel- 
fish men, whose industry has acquired inde- 
pendence, and though Russell's employer, Mr. 
Watson, shrank from committing a gross 
wron" r , and prided himself on his scrupulous 
honesty, still his narrow mind and penurious 
habits strangled every generous impulse, and, 
without being absolutely cruel or unprinci- 
pled, he contrived to gall the boy's proud 
spirit and render his position one of almost 
purgatorial severity. 

:■<•», The machinery of human will is occult and 
complicated ; very few rigidly analyze their 
actions and discern the motives that impel 
them, and if any one had told Jacob Watson 
that Envy was the secret spring which prompt- 
ed his unfriendly course toward his youn^ 
clerk he would probably have indignantly de- 
nied the accusation. The blessing of an edu- 
cation had been withheld from him ; he grew 
up illiterate and devoid of refinement ; fort- 
une favored him, he amassed wealth, and de- 
termined that his children" should enjoy every 
advantage which money could command. His 
eldest son was just Russell's age, had been 
sent to various schools from his infancy, was 
indolent, self-indulgent, and thoroughly dissi- 
pated. Having been a second time expelled 
from school for most disgraceful misdemeanors, 
he lounged away his time about the store, or 
passed it still more disreputably with reckless 
companions. 

The daily contrast presented by Cecil and 
Russell irritated the father, and hence his set- 
tled dislike of the latter. The faithful dis- 
charge of duty on the part of the clerk afford- 
ed no plausible occasion for invective ; he felt 
that he was narrowly watched, and resolved 
to give no ground for fault-finding ; yet dur- 
ing the long summer days, when the intense 
heat prevented customers from thronoino' the 
store, and there was nothing to be done, when 
Russell, knowing that the books were written 
up and the counters free from goods, took his 
Latin grammar and improved every leisure 
half-hour, he was not ignorant of the' fact that 
an angry scowl darkened his employer's visage, 
and understood why he was constantly inter- 
rupted to perform most unnecessary labors. 
But in the same proportion that obstacles 
thickened his energy and resolution doubled ; 
and herein one human soul differs from anoth- 
er, m strength of will which furnishes powers 
of endurance. What the day denied he re- 
claimed from night, and succeeded in acquir- 
ing a tolerable knowledge of Greek, besides 
reading several Latin books. Finding that 
his small salary was inadequate, now that his 
mothers failing sight prevented her from ac- 
complishing the usual amount of sewing, he 
solicited and obtained permission to keep an 
additional set of books for the grocer 4ho 
furnished his family w i th provisions, though 



MACARIA. 



by this arrangement few hours remained for 
necessary sleep. The protracted illness and 
death of an aged and faithful servant, toe-eth- 
er with Eleetra's tedious sickness, bringing the 
extra expense of medical aid, had prevented 
the prompt payment of rent due for the three- 
roomed cottage, and Russell was compelled to 
ask for a portion of his salary in advance. His 
mother little dreamed of the struggle which 
took place in his heart ere he could force him- 
self to make the request, and he carefully con- 
cealed from her the fact that, at the moment 
of receiving the money, he laid in Mr. Wat- 
son's hand, by way of pawn, the only -article 
of any value which he possessed — the watch 
his father had always worn, and which the 
coroner took from the vest-pocket of the dead, 
dabbled with blood. The gold chain had been 
sold long before, and the son wore it attached 
to a simple black ribbon. His employer re- 
ceived the watch, locked it in the iron safe, 
and Russell fastened a small weight to the 
ribbon, and kept it around his neck that his 
mother might not suspect the truth. It chanced 
that Cecil stood near at the time ; he saw the 
watch deposited in the safe, whistled a tune, 
fingered his own gold repeater, and walked 
away. 

Such was Russell Aubrey's history ; such his 
situation at the beginning of his seventeenth 
year. Have I a reader whose fond father lav- 
ishes on him princely advantages, whose 
shelves are filled with valuable but unread 
volumes, whose pockets are supplied with 
more than necessary money, and who yet 
saunters through the precious season of youth, 
failing utterly to appreciate his privileges V 
Let him look into that little room where Rus- 
sell sits, pale, wearied, but unbending, ponder- 
ing his dark future, planning to protect his 
mother from want and racking his brain for 
some feasible method of procuring such books 
as he absolutely needs ; books which his eager 
hungry eyes linger on as he passes the book- 
store every morning going to his work. Oh, 
young reader ! if such I have, look at him 
struggling with adversity as a strong swimmer 
with the murderous waves that lash him, and, 
contrasting your own fortunate position, shake 
off the inertia that clings to you tenaciously as 
Sinbad's burden, and go to work earnestly and 
bravely, thanking God for the aids he has 
given you. 

" Disappointment's dry and bitter-root, 
Envy's harsti berries, and the choking pool 
Of the world's scorn, are the right motlier-milk 
To the tough hearts that pioneer their kind." 



CHAPTER II. 

" Irene, your father will be displeased if he 
sees you in that plight." 

" Pray, what is wrong about me now ? You 
seem to glory in finding fault. What is the 
matter with my ' plight,' as you call it ?" 



" You know very well your father can't 
bear to see you carrying your own satchel and 
basket to school. He ordered Martha to take 
them every morning and evening, but she says 
you will not let her carry them. It is just 
sheer obstinacy in you." 

" There it is again ! because I don't choose 
to be petted like a baby or made a wax-doll 
of, it is set down to obstinacy, as if I had the 
temper of a heathen. See here, Aunt Marga- 
ret, I am tired of having Martha tramping 
eternally at my heels as though I were a two- 
year-old child. There is no reason in her 
walking after me when I am strong enough to 
carry my own books, and I don't intend she 
shall do it any longer." 

" But, Irene, your father is too proud to 
have you trudging along the road like any 
other beggar, with your books in one arm and 
a basket swinging on the other. Just sup- 
pose the Carters or the Harrisses should meet 
you? Dear met they would hardly' believe 
you belonged to a wealthy, aristocratic family 
like the Huntingdons. Child, I never carried 
my own dinner to school in my life." 

" And I expect that is exactly the reason 
why you are for ever complaining, and scarce- 
ly see one well day in the three hundred and 
sixty-five. As to what people think, I don't 
care a cent ; as to whether my ancestors did 
or did not carry their lunch in their own aris- 
tocratic hands is a niatter of no consequence 
whatever. I despise all this ridiculous non- 
sense about aristocracy of family, and I mean 
to do as I please. I thought that really well- 
bred persons of high standing and birth could 
afford to be silent on the subject, and that only 
parvenus — coarse, vulgar people with a little 
money — put on those kinds of airs, and pre- 
tended to be shocked at what they had been 
accustomed to in early life." 

" I do not see where you get such plebeian 
ideas ; you positively make me ashamed of you 
sometimes, when fashionable, genteel persons 
come to the house. There is such a want of 
refinement in your notions. You are anything 
but a Huntingdon." 

" I am what God made me, Aunt Margaret. 
If the Huntingdons stand high, it is because 
they won distinction by their own efforts; 
I don't want the stepping-stones of my dead 
ancestry ; people must judge me for myself, not 
from what my grandmother was." 

Irene Huntingdon stood on the marble steps 
of her palatial home, and talked with the 
maiden aunt who governed her father's house- 
hold. The girl was about fourteen, Jail for 
her age, straight, finely-formed, slender. The 
broad straw hat shaded, but by no means con- 
cealed, her features, and as she looked up*at 
her aunt the sunshine fell upon a face of ex- 
traordinary beauty, such as is rarely seen save 
in the idealized heads of the old masters. Her 
hair was of an uncommon shade, neither au- 



10 



MAC ARIA. 



burn nor brown, but between gold and bronze ; 
and as the sun shone on it the rippling waves 
flashed until their burnished glory seemed a 
very aureola. It was thick and curling ; she 
woreit parted on her pale, polished forehead, 
and it hung around her like a gilded veil. 
The face was an oval ; you might measure it 
by all the rules of art and no imperfection 
could be found, unless the height of the brow 
were considered out of proportion. The nose 
was delicate and clearly cut, and in outline 
resembled that in the antique medals of Oiym- 
pias, the wife of Philip of Macedonia. The 
upper lip was short, and curved like a bow ; 
the lower, thin, firm, and straight. Pier eyes 
were strangely, marvellously beautiful ; they 
were larger than usual, and of that rare shade 
of purplish blue which borders the white 
velvet petals of a clematis. When the eyes 
were uplifted, as on this occasion, long curling 
lashes of the bronze hue of her hair rested 
against her brow. Save the scarlet lines 
which marked her lips, her face was of that 
clear colorlessness which can be likened only 
to the purest ivory. Though there was an 
utter absence of the rosy hue of health, the 
■transparency of the complexion seemed char- 
acteristic of her type, and precluded all 
thought of disease. People are powerfully at- 
tracted by beauty, either of form, color, or a 
combination of both ; and it frequently hap- 
pens that 'something of pain mingles with the 
sensation of pleasure thus excited. Now, 
whether it be that this arises from a vague ap- 
prehension engendered by the evanescent nat- 
ure of all sublunary things, or from the ina- 
bility of earthly types to satisfy the divine 
ideal which the soul enshrines, I shall not 
here attempt to decide ; but those who exam- 
ined Irene's countenance were fully conscious 
of this complex emotion, and strangers who 
passed her m the street felt intuitively that a 
noble, unsullied soul looked out at them from 
the deep, calm, thoughtful eyes. Miss Marga- 
ret muttered something inaudible in reply to 
her last remark, and Irene walked on to 
school. Her father's residence was about a 
mile from the town, but the winding road ren- 
dered the walk somewhat longer ; and on one 
side of this road stood the small house occupied 
by Mrs. Aubrey. As Irene approached it she 
saw Electra Grey coming from the opposite 
direction, and at the cottage-gate they met. 
Both paused ; Irene held out her hand cordi- 
ally— 

" Good-morning. I have not seen you for a 
fortnight. I thought you were coming to school 
again as soon as you were strong enough V" 

"ISIo*; I am not going back to school." 

" Why V" 

." Because Auntie can't afford to send me 
any longer. You know her eyes are growing 
worse every day, and she is not able to take 
in sewing as she used to do. I am sorry ; but 
it can't be helped." 



" How do you know it can't be helped . 
Russell told me he thought she had cataracts 
on her eyes, and they can be removed." 

" Perhaps so, if we had the means of con- 
sulting that celebrated physician in New_ Or- 
leans. Money removes a great many things, 
Irie, but unfortunately we have n't it." 

" The trip would not cost much ; suppose 
you speak to Russell about it." 

"Much or little, it will require more than 
we can possibly spare. Everything is so high 
we can barely live as it is. But I must go in, 
my aunt is waiting for me." 

" Where have you been so early, Electra ? 
I hope you will not think me impertinent in 
asking such a question." 

" I carried this waiter full of bouquets to 
Mr. Carter's. There is to be a grand dinner- 
party there to-day, and Auntie promised as 
many flowers as she could furnish. However, 
bouquets pay poorly. Irie, wait one minute ; 
I have a little border of mignonette all my 
own, and 1 should like to give you a spray." 

She hurried into the garden, and returning 
with a few delicate sprigs, fastened one in her 
friend's belt and the remainder in the ribbon 
on her hat. 

" Thank you, Electra ; who told you that I 
love mignonette so well V It will not do for 
you to stay away from school ; I miss you in 
my class, and, besides, you are losing too much 
time. Something should be done, Electra,. 
Good-by." 

They shook bands, and Irene walked on. 

" Something should be done," she repeated, 
looking down nxedly yet vacantly at the sandy 
road. Soon the brick wails of the Academy 
rose grim and uninviting, and taking her place 
at the desk she applied herself to her books. 
When school was dismissed in the afternoon, 
instead of returning home as usual, she walked 
down the principal street, entered Mr. Wat- 
son's store, and put her books on the counter. 
It happened that the proprietor stood near the 
front-door, and he came tbrward instantly to 
wait upon her. 

'• Ah, Miss Irene ! happy to see you. What 
shall I have the pleasure of showing you ?" 

" Russell Aubrey, if you please."" 

The merchant stared, and she added : 

"I want some kid gauntlets, but Russell 
can get them for me." 

The young clerk stood at the desk in the 
rear of the store, with his back toward the 
counter ; and Mr. Watson called out" 

'• Here, Aubrey, some kid gauntlets for this 
young lady." 

He laid down his pen, and taking a box of 
gloves from the shelves placed it on the count- 
er before her. He had not noticed her par- 
ticularly, and when she pushed back her hat 
and looked up at him he started slightly. 

" Good-evening, Miss Huntingdon. What 
number do you wish T' 

Perhaps it was from the heat of the day, or 



MACARIA. 



11 



from stooping over Lis desk, or perhaps it was 
from something else, but his cheek was flushed, 
and gradually it grew pale again. 

" Russell, I want to speak to you about 
Electra. She ought to be at school, you 
know." 

" Yes." 

" But she says your mother can't afford the 
expense." 

" Just now she can not ; next year things 
will be better." 

" What is the tuition for her ?" 

" Five dollars a month." 

"Is that all V" 

He selected a delicate fawn-colored pair of 
gloves and laid them before her, while a faint 
smile passed over his face. 

" Russell, has anything happened ?"" 

" What do you mean '!" 

" What is troubling you so ?" 

" Nothing more than usual. Do those gloves 
suit you '{" 

" Yes, they will fit me, I believe." She look- 
ed at him very intently. 

He met her gaze steadily, and for an instant 
his face brightened; then she said abruptly: 

" Your mother's eyes are worse ?" 

" Yes, much worse." 

" Have you consulted Dr. Arnold about 
them '?" 

" He says he can do nothing for her." 

" How much would it cost to take her to 
New Orleans and have that celebrated oculist 
examin.e them ?" 

" More than we can afford just now ; at 
least two hundred dollars." 

"Oh, Russell! that is not much. Would 
not Mr. Watson lend you that little V" 

" I shall not ask him." 

" Not even to restore your mother's sight ?" 

" Not to buy my own life. Besides, the ex- 
periment is a doubtful one." 

" Still it is worth making." 

" Yes, under different circumstances it cer- 
tainly would be." 

, " Have you talked to Mr. Campbell about 
it?" 

" No, because it is useless to discuss the mat- 
ter." 

" It would be dangerous to go to New Or- 
leans now, I suppose V" 

" October or November would be better." 

Again she. looked at him very earnestly, then 
stretched out her little hand. 

" Good- by, Russell ; 1 wish 1 could do some- 
thing to help you, to make you less sorrowful." 

He held the slight waxen fingers, and his 
mouth trembled as he answered : 

" Thank you, Miss Huntingdon. I am not 
sorrowful, but my path in life is not quite so 
flowery as yours." 

" I wish you would not call me ' Miss Hun- 
tingdon,' in that stiff, far-off way, as if we were 
not friends. Or maybe it is a hint that you 
desire me to address you as Mr. Aubrey. It 



sounds strange, unnatural, to say anything but 
Russell." 

She gathered up her books, took the gloves, 
and went slowly homeward, and Russell re- 
turned to his desk with a light in his eyes 
which, for the remainder of the day, nothing 
could quench. As Irene ascended the long 
hill on which Mr. Huntingdon's residence stood 
she saw her father's buggy at the door, and as 
she approached the steps he came our,, draw- 
ing on his gloves. 

" You are late, Irene. What kept you ?" 

" I have been shopping a little. Are you 
going to ride ? Take me with you." 

" Going to dine at Mr. Carter's." 

" Why, the sun is almost down now. 8 What 
time will you come home V I want to ask you 
something." 

" Not till long after you are asleep." 

He took his seat in the buggy, and the 
spirited horse dashed down the avenue. A 
servant came forward to take her hat and 
satchel and inform her that her dinner had 
waited some time. Miss Margaret sat croch- 
eting at the front-window of the dining-room, 
and Irene ate her dinner in silence. As she 
rose and approached her aunt the door swung 
open and a youth entered, apparently about 
Russell's age, though really one year older. 

" Irene, I am tired to death waiting for you. 
What a provoking girl you are ! The horses 
have been saddled at least one hour and a half. 
Do get on your riding-dress. I am out of all 
patience." 

He rapped his boot heavily with his whip 
by way, of emphasis, and looked hurriedly at 
his watch. 

" I did not promise to ride with you this 
evening, Hugh, ' answered his cousin, seating 
herself on the window-sill and running her 
lingers lightly over the bars of a beautiful cage, 
where her canary pecked playfully at the fair 
hand. 

" Oh, nonsense ! Suppose you did n't prom- 
ise ; I waited for you, and told Grace Harriss 
and Charlie that we would meet them at the 
upper, bend of the river, just above the Factory. 
Charlie's new horse has just arrived from Ver- 
mont— Green Mountain Boy he calls him — 
and we have a bet of a half-dozen pairs of 
gloves that he can't beat my Eclipse. Do come 
along ! Aunt Margaret, make her come." 

"1 should like to see anybody make her do 
what she is not in the. humor for," said his aunt, 
looking over her glasses at the lithe, graceful 
figure on the window-sill. 

" Hugh, I would rather stay at home, for I 
am tired, but 1 will go to oblige you." 

Miss Margaret lifted her eyebrows, and as 
his cousin left the room Hugh Seymour ex- 
claimed : 

" Is n't she the greatest beauty in the United 
States V" 

" She will be a belle when she is grown ; 
just such a one as your mother was, only she 



12 



MACARIA. 



lacks her gayety of disposition. She is full of 
strange notions, Hugh; you don't know the 
half of her character— her own father does not. 
Frequently I am puzzled to understand her 
myself." 

"Oh ! she will come out of all that. She is 
curious* about some things now, but she will 
outgrow it." 

" I am afraid she will not, for it is as much 
a part of her as the color of her hair or the 
shape of her nose. She has always been queer." 

Irene appeared at the door with a smali sil- 
ver porte-monnaie in her hand. She counted 
the contents, put it into her pocket, and, 
gathering up the folds of her habit, led the 
way to the front door. Hugh adjusted the 
reins, and laying one hand on his she sprang 
lightly to her saddle, then stroked her horse's 
silky mane and said : 

" Erebus can leave Green Mountain Boy so 
far behind that Charlie would find it no easy 
matter to count the plumes in my hat. Are 
you ready ?" 

The beautiful jetty creature, as if conscious 
of her praise, tossed his head and sprang off 
in a canter, but, wheeling round, she called to 
the groom who stood watching them : 

'• Unchain Paragon !" 

Five minutes later the cousins were gallop- 
ing on, with a superb greyhound following 
close at Erebus' heels, and leaping up now 
and then in obedience to the motion of Irene's 
hand. The road ran through a hilly country, 
now clad in stern ancestral pines, and now 
skirted with oak and hickory, and about a mile 
beyond the town it made a sharp angle and 
took the river bank. The sun had set, but 
the western sky was still aglow ; and near the 
bank, where the current was not perceptible, 
the changing tints of the clouds were clearly 
mirrored, but in the middle of the stream a 
ledge of rock impeded' its course and the wa- 
ter broke over with a dull roar, churning itself 
into foam and spray as it dashed from shelf to 
shelf of the stony barrier. Just opposite the 
Fall Irene checked her horse and paused to 
admire the beauty of the scene; but in another 
moment the quick tramp of hoofs fell on her 
ear, and Hugh's young friends joined them. 
Green Mountain Boy was flecked with foam, 
and as Irene measured his perfections at one 
hasty glance, she patted her favorite's head 
and challenged Charlie for a trial of speed. 

" No ; Charlie and I must have the race. 
Miss Grace, you and Irene can take care of 
yourselves for a few minutes. We will wait for 
you on the edge of town, at the graveyard. 
Now, Charlie, 1 am ready." 

They took their places in front, and were 
soon out of sight, as the road followed the 
curves of the river. Erebus plunged violently 
at first, not being accustomed to lag behind 
Eclipse, but by much persuasion and frequent 
kind* touches on his head, Irene managed to 
reconcile him to the temporary disgrace. 



Grace looked at his antics rather fearfully, 
and observed that no amount of money could 
tempt her to mount him. 

" Why not ?" 

" He will break your neck yet." 

"He is very spirited, but as gentle as Para- 
gon. Come, Grace, it is getting late; they 
will be waiting for us. Quicken your sober, 
meek little brownie." 

" So Electra is not coming back to school. 
It is a great pity she can't have an educa- 
tion." 

" Who told you anything about her ?" 

" Oh, everybody knows how poor her aunt 
is; and now, to mend matters, she is going 
blind. I would go to see Electra occasionally 
if the family had not been so disgraced. I 
like her, but no genteel person recognizes 
Mrs. Aubrey, even in the street."' 

" That is very unjust. She is one of the 
most refined, elegant women I have ever seen. 
She ought not to be blamed for her hushand's 
misfortune. Poverty is no crime." 

If she had been treated to a Hindostanee 
proverb Grace could not have looked more 
stupidly surprised. 

" Why, Irene ! Mrs. Aubrey wears a bit-, 
calico to church." 

" Well, suppose she does ? Is people's worth 
to be determined only by the cost or the quality 
of their clothes ? If I were to give your cook 
a silk dress exactly like that one your uncle 
sent you from Paris, and provide her with 
shawl and bonnet to match, would she be your 
equal, do you think? I imagine you would 
not thank me or anybody else who insinuated 
that Mrs. Harriss' negro cook was quite as 
genteel and elegant as Miss Grace herself, be- 
cause she wore exactly the same kind of clothes. 
I tell you, Grace, it is all humbug I this ever- 
lasting talk about fashion, and dress, and gen- 
tility ! Pshaw! I am sick of- it. When our 
forefathers were fighting for freedom, for a 
national existence, I wonder whether their 
wives measured each other's respectability or 
gentility by their lace collars or the number of 
flounces on their dresses? Grace Harriss, your 
great-grandmother, and mine, and probably 
everybody's else, spun the cotton, and wove 
the cloth, and cut and made their homespun 
dresses, and were thankful to get them. And 
these women who had not even bit-calicoes 
were the mothers and wives and sisters and 
daughters of men who established the most 
glorious government on the face of the broad 
earth 1 The way the women of America have 
degenerated is a crying shame. I tell you, 1 
would blush to look my great-grandmother in 
the face." 

Grace shrugged her shoulders in expressive 
silence, and, soon after, they reached the spot 
where the boys were waiting to join them. 

" Eclipse made good his name !" cried Hugh, 
triumphantly, while Charlie bit his lip with 
chagrin. 



MACARIA. 



13 



" Never mind, Charlie ; Erebus can distance 
Eclipse any day." 

" Not so easily," muttered Hugh. 

" I will prove it the next time we ride. Now 
for a canter as far as Grace's door." 

On they went, through the main street of 
the town : Erebus ahead, Paragon at his heels, 
then all the others. The wind blew Irene's veil 
over her eyes, she endeavored to put it back, 
and in the effort dropped her whip. It was 
dusk ; they were near one of the crossings, and 
a tall, well-known form stooped, found the. 
whip, and handed it up. Erebus shied, but 
the hand touched Irene's as it inserted the sil- 
ver handle in the slender fingers. 

" Thank you, Russell; thank you very much." 

He bowed formally, drew his straw hat over 
his brow, and walked on with two heavy ac- 
count-books under his arm. 

" I can't endure that boy," said Hugh, at 
the distance of half a square, flourishing his 
whip energetically as he spoke. 

" Nor I," chimed in Charlie. 

" Why not? I have known him a long time, 
and I like him very much." 

" He is so confoundedly proud and saintly." 

" That exists entirely in -your imagination, 
Hugh. You don't know half his good quali- 
ties," returned Irene, a little quickly. 

" Bah ! — " began her cousin ; but here their 
companions bade thern good-night, and, as if 
disinclined to continue the subject, Irene kept 
in advance till they reached home. Tea was 
waiting ; Miss Margaret and Hugh talked of 
various things ; Irene sat silent, balancing her 
spoon on the edge of her cup. Finally, tired 
of listening, she glided to the front-door and 
seated herself on the steps. Paragon followed, 
and laid down at her feet. Everything was 
quiet, save the distant roar of the river as it 
foamed over its rocky bed ; below, hanging on 
the bank of the stream, lay the town. From 
her elevated position she could trace the wind- 
ing of the streets by the long rows of lamps, 
and now and then a faint hum rose on the 
breeze as it swept up the hill and lost itself in 
the forest behind the house. Very soon Hugh 
came out, cigar in hand, and threw himself 
down beside her. 

" What is the matter, Irie ?" 

" Nothing." 

" What are you moping here for ?" 

" I am not moping at all ; I am waiting for 
Father." 

" He will not be here for three hours yet. 
Don't you know that Mr. Carter's dinners 
always end in card-parties ? He is famous 
for whist* and euchre, and doubtless his din- 
ners pay him well. What do you want with 
Uncle ?" 

_ '_' Hugh, do .throw away your cigar. It is 
ridiculous to see a boy of your age puffing away 
in that style. Betting and smoking seem to 
be the only things you have learned at Yale. 
By the way, when do you go back ?" 



" Are you getting tired of me ? I go back 
in ten days. Irene, do you know that I am not 
coming home next vacation ? I have promised 
a party of merry fellows to spend it with them 
in Canada. Then the next summer I go to 
Europe for two years at least. Are you listen- 
ing ? Do you understand that it will be four 
years before I see you again ?" 

" Yes, I understand." 

" I dare say the time will seem longer to me 
than to you." 

"I hope, when you do come back, we shall 
not be disappointed in you." 

He took her hand, but she withdrew her 
fingers. 

"Irene, you belong to me, and you know it." 

" No ! I belong to God and myself." 

She rose, and, retreating to the library, 
opened her books and began to study. The 
night passed very slowly ; she looked at the 
clock again and again. Finally the house be- 
came quiet, and at last the crush of wheels on 
the gravel-walk announced her father's return. 
He came into the library for a cigar, and, with- 
out noticing her, drew his chair* to the open 
window. She approached and put her hand 
on his shoulder. 

" Irene ! what is the matter, child ?" 

rf Nothing, sir ; only I want to ask you some- 
thing." 

" Well, Queen, what is it ?" 

He drew her tenderly to his knee and pass- 
ed his hand over her floating hair. 

Leonard Huntingdon was forty years old ; 
tall, spare, with an erect and martial carriage. 
He had been trained at West Point, and per- 
haps early education contributed somewhat to 
the air of unbending haughtiness which many 
found repulsive. His black hair was slightly 
sprinkled with gray and his features were still 
decidedly handsome, though the expression of 
mouth and eyes was, ordinarily, by no means 
winning. He could seem very fascinating, but 
rarely deigned to be so ; and an intimate ac- 
quaintance was not necessary to teach people 
that he was proud, obstinate, and thoroughly 
selfish, loving only Hugh, Irene, and himself. 
She was his only child ; her mother had died 
during her infancy, and on this beautiful idol 
he lavished all the tenderness of which his 
nature was capable. His tastes were culti- 
vated, his house was elegant and complete, 
and furnished magnificently; every luxury 
that money could yield him he possessed, yet 
there were times when he seemed moody and 
cynical, and no one could surmise the cause of 
his gloom. To-night there was no shadow on 
his face, however ; doubtless the sparkle of the 
wine-cup still shone in his piercing blue eye, 
and the girl looked up at him fearing no denial. 

" Father, I wish, please, you would give me 
two hundred dollars." 

" What would you do with it, Queen ?" 

" I do not want it for myself; I should like 
to have that much to enable a poor woman to 



14 



MACARIA. 



recover her sight. She has cataracts on her 
eyes, and there is a physician in New Orleans 
who can relieve her. She is poor, and it will 
cost about two hundred dollars. Father, won't 
you give me the money ?" 

He took the cigar from his lips, shook off the 
ashes, and asked indifferently : 

" What is the woman's name ? Has she no 
husband to take care of her ?" 

" Mrs. Aubrey ; she — 

" What !— " 

The cigar'fell from his fingers, he put her 
from his knee, and rose instantly. His swarthy 
cheek glowed, and she wondered at the ex- 
pression of his eyes, so different from anything 
she had ever seen there before. 

" Father, do you know her ?" 

" What do you know of her ? What busi- 
ness is it of yours, whether she goes blind or 
not? Is it possible Margaret allows you to 
visit at that house ? Answer me, what do you 
know about her ?" 

" I know that she is a very gentle, unfort- 
unate woman ; that she has many bitter trials ; 
that she works hard to support her family ; that 
she is noble and — " 

" Who gave you permission to visit that 
house ?" 

" No permission was necessary. I go there 
because I love her and Electra, and because 
I like Russell. Why should n't I go there, sir? 
Is poverty disgrace ?" 

" Irene, mark me. You are to visit that 
house no more in future ; keep away from the 
whole family. I will have no such association. 
Never let me hear their names again. Go to 
bed." 

" Give me one good reason, and I will obey 
you." 

" Reason ! My will, my command, is suffi- 
cient reason. What do you mean by cate- 
chising me in this way ? Implicit obedience is 
your duty." 

The calm, holy eyes looked wonderingly into 
his ; and as he marked the startled expression 
of the girl's pure face his own eyes drooped. 

." Father, has Mrs. Aubrey ever injured 
you?" 

No answer. 

" If she has not, you are very unjust to her ; 
if she has, remember she is a woman, bowed 
down with many sorrows, and it is unmanly to 
hoard up old differences. Father, please give 
me that money." 

" I will bury my last dollar in the Red Sea 
first ! Now are you answered ?" 

She put her hand over her eyes, as if to shut 
out some painful vision ; and he saw the slight 
form shudder. In perfect silence she took her 
books and went up to her room. Mr. Hunting- 
don reseated himself as the door closed behind 
her, and the lamp-light showed a sinister smile 
writhing over his dark features. In the busy 
hours of day, in the rush and din of active life, 
men can drown remorseful whispers and shut 



their eyes to the panorama which Memory 
strives to place before them ; but there come 
still hours, solemn and inexorable, when strug- 
gles are useless and the phantom recollections 
of early years crowd up like bannered armies. 
He sat there, staring out into the starry night, 
and seeing by the shimmer of the setting moon 
only the graceful form and lovely face of Amy 
Aubrey, as she had appeared to him in other 
days. Could he forget the hour when she 
wrenched her cold fingers from his clasp, and, 
in defiance of her father's wishes, vowed she 
would never be his wife ? No ; revenge was 
sweet, very sweet ; his heart had swelled with 
exultation when the verdict of death upon 
the gallows was pronounced upon the husband 
of her choice; and now, her poverty, her 
humiliation, her blindness gave him deep, un- 
utterable joy. This history of the Past was 
a sealed volume to his daughter, but she was 
now for the first time conscious that her father 
regarded the widow and her son with uncon- 
querable hatred ; and with strange, foreboding 
dread she looked into the Future, knowing that 
forgiveness was no part of his nature ; that in- 
sult or injury was never forgotten. 



CHAPTER III. 

Whether the general rule of implicit -obe- 
dience to parental injunction admitted of no 
exceptions, was a problem which Irene readily 
solved ; and on Saturday, as soon as her father 
and cousin had started to the plantation 
(twenty-five miles distant), she put on her hat 
and walked to town. Wholly absorbed in phi- 
lanthropic schemes, she hurried along the side- 
walk, ran up a flight of steps, and knocked at 
a door on which was written, in large gilt let- 
ters, " Dr. Arnold." 

" Ah, Beauty ! come in. Sit down, and tell 
me what brought you to town so early." 

He was probably a man of fifty; gruff in 
appearance, and unmistakably a bachelor. 
His thick hair was grizzled ; so was the heavy 
beard ; and shaggy gray eyebrows slowly un- 
bent as he took his visitor's little hands and 
looked kindly down into her grave face. From 
her infancy he had petted and fondled her, 
and she stood as little in awe of him as of 
Paragon. 

" Doctor, are you busy this morning ?" 

" I am never too busy to attend to you, little 
one. What is it ?" 

" Of course you know that Mrs. Aubrey is 
almost blind." 

" Of course I do, having been her phy- 
sician." 

" Those cataracts can be removed, how- 
ever." 

" Perhaps they can, and perhaps they can't." 

" But the probabilities are that a good ocu- 
list can relieve her." 

" I rather think so." 



MACAPJA. 



15 



" Two hundred dollars would defray all the 
expenses of a trip to New Orleans for this 
purpose, but she is too poor to afford it." 

" Decidedly too poor." 

His gray eyes twinkled promisingly, but he 
would not' anticipate her. 

" Dr. Arnold, don't you think you could 
spare that small sum without much incon- 
venience ?" 

"Really! is that what you trudged into 
town for ?" 

" Yes, just that, and nothing else. If I had 
had the money I should not have applied to 
you." 

" Pshaw ! your father could buy me a dozen 
times." 

"At any rate, I have not the necessary 
amount at my disposal just now, and I came to 
ask you to ,lend it to me." 

" For how long, Beauty ?" 

" Till I am of age — perhaps not so long. I 
will pay you the interest/' 

" You will climb Popocatapetl, won't you ? 
Hush, child." 

He went into the adjoining room, but soon 
returned and resumed his seaton the sofa by 
her side. 

" Irene, did you first apply to your father ? I 
don't relish the idea of being a dernier ressort." 

" What difference can it make to you wheth- 
er I did or did not '? That I come to you at 
all is sufficient proof of my faith in your gen- 
erosity." 

Hiram Arnold was an acute and practised 
physiognomist, but the pale, quiet face per- 
plexed him. 

" Do you want the money now ?" 

" Yes, if you please ; but before you give it 
to me I ought to tell you that I want the mat- 
ter kept secret. No one is to know anything 
about it — not even my father." 

" Irene, is it right to inveigle me into 
schemes with which you are ashamed to have 
your own father acquainted ?." 

" You know the whole truth, therefore you 
are not inveigled ; and moreover, Doctor, I 
am not ashamed of anything I do." 

She looked so unembarrassed that for a mo- 
ment he felt puzzled. 

" I knew Mrs. Aubrey before her marriage." 
He bent forward to watch the effect of his 
words, but if she really knew or suspected 
aught of the past, there was not the slightest 
intimation of it. Putting back her hair, she 
looked up and answered : 

" That should increase your willingness to 
aid her in her misfortunes." 

" Hold out your hand : fifty, one hundred, a 
hundred and fifty, two hundred. There, will 
that do V" 

" Thank you 1 thank you ! You will not 
need it soon, I hope ?" 

" Not until you are ready to pay me." 
" Dr. Arnold, you have given me a great deal 
of pleasure — more than I can express. I — " 



" Don't try to express it, Queen. You have 
given me infinitely more, I assure you." 

Her splendid' eyes were lifted toward him, 
and with some sudden impulse she touched her 
lips to the hand he had placed on her shoulder. 
Something like a tremor crossed the doctor's 
habitually stern mouth as he looked at the 
marvellous beauty of the girl's countenance, 
and he kissed her slender fingers as reverently 
as though he touched something consecrated. 

" Irene, shall I take you home in my bug- 
gy'?" 

" No, thank you, I would rather walk. Oh ! 

Doctor, I am so much obliged to you." 

She drew her hat over her face and went 
down the steps. Dr. Arnold walked slowly 
across fhe office-floor with his hands behind 
him ; the grim face was placid now, the dark 
furrows on his brow were not half so deep, and 
as he paused and closed a ponderous volume 
lying on the table, a smile suddenly flitted over 
his features, as one sees a sunbeam struggle 
through rifts in low rain-clouds. He put the 
book in the case and locked the glass door. 
The "Augustinian Theory of Evil" was con- 
tained in the volume, which seemed by no 
means to have satisfied him. 

"All a maze worse than that of Crete! I 
will follow that girl ; she shall be my Ariadne 
in this Egyptian darkness. Pshaw ! if His 
Highness of Hippo were right, what would be- 
come of the world ? All social organizations 
are based (and firmly too) on man's faith in 
man ; establish the universal depravity, devil- 
ishness of the human race, and lo ! what sup- 
ports the mighty social fabric ? Machiavelism ? 
If that queer little untrained freethinker, Irene, 
is not pure and sinless, then there are neither 
seraphim nor cherubim in high Heaven 1 Cy- 
rus, bring out my buggy." 

In answer to Irene's knock, Electra opened 
the cottage-door and ushered her into the 
small room which served as both kitchen and 
dining-room. Everything was scrupulously 
neat, not a spot on the bare polished floor, not 
a speck to dim the purity of the snowy dimity 
curtains, and on the table in the centre stood a 
vase filled with fresh fragrant flowers. In a 
low chair before the open window sat the 
widow, netting a blue and white nubia. She 
glanced round as Irene entered. 

"Whois.it, Electra?" 

" Miss Irene, Aunt." 

" Sit down, Miss Irene ; how are you to- 
day ?" 

She spoke rapidly, and for a moment seemed 
confused, then resumed her work. Irene 
watched her pale, delicate fingers, and the long 
auburn lashes drooping over the colorless 
cheeks, and, when she looked up for an instant, 
the visitor saw that the mild, meek brown eyes 
were sadly blurred. If ever Resignation en- 
throned itself on a woman's brow, one might 
have bowed before Amy Aubrey's sweet, 
placid, subdued face. No Daniel was needed 



16 



MACARIA. 



to interpret the lines which sorrow had printed 
around her patient, tremulous mouth. 

" Mrs. Aubrey, I am sorry to hear your eyes 
are no better." 

_ "Thank you for your kind sympathy. My 
sight grows more dim every day." 

" I should think netting would be injurious 
to you now." 

" It is purely mechanical ; I use my eyes 
very little. Electra arranges the colors for 
me', and I find it easy work." 

Irene knelt down before her, and, folding 
one of the hands in both hers, said eagerly : 

" You shan't suffer much longer ; these veils 
shall be taken off. Here is the money to en- 
able you to go to New Orleans and consult 
that physician. As soon as the weather turns 
cooler you must start." 

"Miss Irene, I can not tax your generosity 
so heavily ; I have no claim on your goodness. 
Indeed I—" 

" Please don't refuse the money ! You will 
distress me very much if you do. Why should 
you hesitate ? if it makes me happy and bene- 
fits you, why will you decline it ? Do you 
think if my eyes were in the condition of yours 
that I would not thank you to relieve me ?" 

The widow had risen hastily and covered 
her face with her hands, while an unwonted 
flush dyed her cheeks. She trembled, and 
Irene saw* tears stealing through the fingers. 

" Mrs. Aubrey, don't you think it is your 
duty to recover your sight if possible?" 

" Yes, if I could command the means." 

" You have the means — you must employ 
them. There, I will not take back the money ; 
it is yours." - 

" Don't refuse it, Auntie ; you will wound 
Irie," pleaded Electra. 

How little, they understood or appreciated 
the struggle in that gentle sufferer's heart ; 
how impossible for them to realize the humilia- 
tion she endured in accepting such a gift from 
the child of Leonard Huntingdon ? 

With a faltering voice she asked : 

" Did your father send me this money ?" 

"No." 

It was the first time she had ever alluded to 
him, and Irene saw that some painful memory 
lipked itself with her father. What could it 
be ? There was silence for a few seconds ; 
then Mrs. Aubrey took the hands from her face 
and said: " Irene, I will accept your generous 
offer. If my sight is restored, I can repay you 
some day ; if not, I am not too proud to be 
under this great obligation to you. Oh, Irene ! 
I can't tell you how much I thank you; my 
heart is too full for words." She threw her 
arm round the girl's waist and strained her to 
her bosom, and hot tears fell fast on the waves 
of golden hair. A moment after, Irene threw 
a tiny envelope into Electra's lap, and without 
another word glided out of the room. The 
orphan broke the seal, and as she opened a 
sheet of note-paper a ten-dollar bill slipped out. 



" Electra, come to school Monday- The 
enclosed will pay your tuition for two months 
longer. Please don't hesitate to accept it, it 
you really love 

" Your friend, 

"Irene.' 

Mrs. Aubrey sat with her face in her hands, 
listening to the mournful, solemn voice that 
stole up from the mouldering, dusty crypts of 
by-sone years ; and putting the note in her 
pocket, Electra leaned her head against the 
window and thanked God for the gift of a true 
friend. Thinking of the group she had just 
left, Irene approached the gate and saw that 
Russell stood holding it open for her to pass. 
Looking up she stopped, for the expression of 
his face frightened and pained her. 

" Russell, what is the matter? oh ! tell me." 

A scornful, defiant smile distorted his blood- 
less lips, but he made no answnc. She took 
his hand ; it was cold, and the fingers were 
clenched. 

" Russell, are you ill ?" 

She shuddered at the glare in his black 
eyes. » 

" I am not ill." 

" Won't you tell your friend what ails you?" 

" I have no friend but my mother !" 

" Oh, Russell, Russell !" 

Her head drooped, and the glittering hair 
swept as a veil between them. The low, flute- 
like, pleading voice stirred his heart, and the 
blood surged over his pallid forehead. 

" I have been injured and insulted. Just 
-now I doubt all people and all things, even the 
justice and mercy of God." 

"Russell, 'shall not the righteous Judge of 
all the earth do right ?' " 

" Shall the rich and the unprincipled eter- 
nally trample upon the poor and the unfortu- 
nate ?" 

" Who has injured you?" 

"A meek-looking man, who passes for a 
Christian, who turns pale at the sound of a 
violin, who exhorts to missionary labors, and 
talks often about widows and orphans. Such 
a man, knowing the circumstances that sur- 
round me — my poverty, my mother's affliction — 
on bare and most unwarrantable suspicion 
turns me out of my situation as clerk, and en- 
deavors to brand my name with infamy. To- 
day I stand disgraced in the eyes of the com- 
munity, thanks to the vile slanders of that pil- 
lar of the church, Jacob Watson. Four hours 
ago I went to my work quietly, hopefully ; but 
now another spirit has entered and possessed 
me. Irene, I am desperate. Do you wonder ? 
It seems to me ages have rolled over me since 
my mother kissed me this morning ; there is a 
hissing serpent in my heart which I have no 
power to expel. I could bear it myself, but 
my mother ! my noble, patient, suffering moth- 
er ! I must go in and add a yet heavier bur- 
den to those already crushing out her life. 



MACARIA. 



17 



Pleasant tidings, these I bring her : that her 
son is disgraced, branded as a rogue !" 

There was no moisture in the keen eye, no 
tremor in the metallic ring of his voice, no re- 
laxation of the curled lip. 

" Can't you prove your innocence ? Was it 
money ?" 

" No, it was a watch ; my watch, which I 
gave up as security for drawing a portion of 
my salary in advance. It was locked up in 
the iron safe ; this morning it was missing, and 
they accuse me of having stolen it." 

He took oft' his hat as if it oppressed him, 
and tossed back his hair. 

" What will you do. Russell ?" 
" I don't know yet." 
" Oh ! if I could only help you." 
She cla&ped her hands over her heart, and 
for the first time since her infancy tears rush- 
ed down her cheeks. It was painful to see 
that quiet girl so moved, and Russell hastily 
took the folded hands in his and bent his face 
close to hers. 

" Irene, the only comfort I have is that you 
are my i'riend. Don't let them influence you 
against me. No matter what you may hear, 
believe in me. Oh, Irene, Irene ! believe in 
me always !"' 

He held her hands in a clasp so tight that it 
pained her, then suddenly dropped them and 
left her. As a pantomime all this passed be- 
fore Electra's eyes ; not a word reached her, 
but she knew that something unusual had oc- 
curred to bring her cousin' home at that hour, 
and felt that now he was but the avant-cou- 
rie,r of a new sorrow. She glanced toward her 
aunt's bowed form, then smothered a groan, 
and sat waiting for the blow to fall upon her. 
Why spring to meet it ? He went to his own 
room first, and five, ten, fifteen minutes rolled 
on. She listened to the faint sound of his 
steps, and knew that he paced up and down 
the floor ; five minutes more of crushing sus- 
pense, and he came along the passage and 
stood at the door. She' looked at him, pale, 
erect, and firm, and shuddered in thinking of 
the struggle which that calm exterior had cost 
him. Mrs. Aubrey recognized the step, and 
looked round in surprise. 

" Electra, I certainly bear Russell coming." 
He drew near and touched her cheek with 
"his lips, saying tenderly : 
" How is my mother ?" 
" Russell, what brings you home so early ?" 
"That is rather a cold welcome, Mother, 
but I am not astonished. Can you bear to 
hear something unpleasant ? Here, put your 
hands in mine ; now listen to me. You know 
I drew fifty dollars of my salary in advance, to 
pay Clark. At that time I gave my watch to 
Mr. Watson by Way of pawn, he seemed so 
reluctant to let me have the money ; you un- 
derstand, Mother, why I did not mention it at 
the time. He locked it up in the iron safe, to 
which no one has access except him and my- 
2 



self. Late yesterday I locked the safe as usual, 
but do not remember whether the watch was 
still there or not ; this morning Mr. Watson 
missed it ; we searched safe, desk, store, could 
find it nowhere, nor the twenty-dollar gold 
piece deposited at the same time. No other 
money was missing, though the safe contained 
nearly a thousand dollars. The end of it all 
is that I am accused as the thief, and expelled 
in disgrace for — •" 

A low, plaintive cry escaped the widow's 
lips, and her head sank heavily on the boy's 
shoulder. Passing his arm fondly around her, 
he kissed her white face, and continued in the 
same hushed, passionless tone, like one speak- 
ing under his breath, and stilling some devour- 
ing rage : 

^ " Mother, I need not assure you of my inno- 
cence. You know that I never could be 
guilty of what is imputed to me ; but, not 
having it in my power to prove my innocence, 
I shall have to suffer the disgrace for a season. 
Only for a season, I trust, Mother, for in time 
the truth must be discovered. I have been 
turned out of my situation, and, though they 
have no proof of my guilt, they will try to 
brand me with the disgrace. But they can't 
crush me ; so long as there remains a drop of 
blood in my veins, I will scorn their slanders 
and their hatred. Don't cry, Mother ; your 
tears hurt me more than all my wrongs. If 
you will only be brave, and put entire confi- 
dence in me, I shall bear all this infinitely bet- 
ter. Look at the bitter truth, face to face ; 
we- have nothing more to lose. Poor, afflicted, 
disgraced, there is nothing else on earth to 
fear ; but there is everything to hope for : 
wealth, name, fame, influence. This is my 
comfort; it is a grim philosophy, born of De- 
spair. I go forward from to-day like a man 
who comes out of some fiery furnace, and, 
blackened and scorched though he be, looks 
into the future without apprehension, feeling 
assured that it can hold no trials comparable 
to those already past. Herein I am strong ; 
but you should have another and far brighter 
hope to rest upon ; it is just such ordeals as 
this for which religion promises you strength 
and consolation. Mother, I have seen you 
supported by Christian faith in a darker hour 
than this. Take courage ; all will be well 
some day." 

For a few moments deep silence reigned in 
the little kitchen, and only the infinite eye 
pierced the heart of the long-tried sufferer. 
When she raised her head from the boy's bos- 
om the face, though tear-stained, was serene, 
and, pressing her lips twice to his, she said 
slowly : 

" ' Beloved, think it not strange concerning 
the fiery trial which is to try you ; as though 
some strange thing happened unto you. For 
whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and 
scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.' I 
will wait patiently, my son, hoping for proofs 



18 



MAC ARIA. 



which shall convince the world of your inno- 
cence. I wish J could take the whole burden 
on my shoulders, and relieve you, my dear 
boy." 

" You ba*e, Mother ; it ceases to crush me, 
now that you are yourself once more." He 
spoke with difficulty, however, as if something 
stifled him, and, rising, hastily poured out and 
drank a glass of water. 

" And now, Russell, sit down and let me 
tell you a little that is pleasant and sunshiny. 
There is still a bright spot left to look upon." 

Stealing her hand into his, the mother in- 
formed him of all that had occurred during 
Irene's visit, and concluded by laying the 
money in his palm. 

Electra sat opposite, watching the change 
that came over the face she loved besf on 
earth. Her large, eager, midnight eyes noted 
the quick flush and glad light which over- 
spread his features ; the deep joy that kindled 
in his tortured soul; and unconsciously she 
clutched her fingers till the nails grew purple, 
as though striving to strangle some hideous 
object thrusting itself before her. Her breath- 
ing became labored and painful, her gaze 
more concentrated and searching, and when 
her cousin exclaimed,' '• Oh, Mother I she is 
an angel ! I have always known it. She is 
unlike everybody else !" Electra's heart seemed 
to stand still ; and from that moment a som- 
bre curtain fell between the girl's eyes and 
God's sunshine. She rose, and a silent yet 
terrible struggle took place in her passionate 
soul. Justice and Jealousy wrestled briefly ; 
she would be just, though every star fell from 
her sky, and with a quick, uncertain step she 
reached Russell, thrust Irene's note into his 
fingers, and fled into solitude. 

An hour later Russell knocked at the door 
of an office, which bore on a square tin plate 
these words, " Robert Campbell, Attorney-at- 
Law." The door ,was only partially closed, 
and as he entered an elderly man looked up 
from a desk covered with loose papers and 
open volumes, from which he was evidently 
making extracts. The thin hair hung over his 
forehead as if restless fingers had ploughed 
carelessly through it, and, as he kept one 
finger on a half-copied paragraph, the cold 
blue eye said very plainly, " This is a busy 
time with me ; despatch your errand at once." 

" Good-morning, Mr. Campbell ; are you 
particularly engaged ?" 

" How-d'y-do, Aubrey. I am generally en- 
gaged; confoundedly busy this morning. What 
do you want ?" 

His pen resumed its work, but he turned 
his head as if to listen. 

" I will call again when you are at leisure," 
said Russell, turning away. 

" That will be — next month — next year ; in 
fine, postponing your visit indefinitely. Sit 
down — somewhere — well — clear those books 
into a corner, and let 's hear your business. 



I am at your service for ten minutes— talk 
fast." 

He put his pen behind his ear, crossed his^ 
arms on the desk, and looked expectant. 

" I came here to ask whether you wished to 
employ any one in your office." 

" And what the deuce do you suppose I 
want with an office-lad like yourself? To put 
the very books I need at the bottom of a pile 
tall as the Tower of Babel, and tear up my 
briefs to kindle the fire or light your cigar ? 
No, thank you, Aubrey ; I tried that experi- 
ment to my perfect satisfaction a few months 
ago. Is that all V 

" That is all, sir." 

The boy rose, but the bitter look that cross- 
ed his face as he glanced at the well-filled 
book-shelves arrested the lawyer's attention, 
and he added : 

" Why did you leave Watson, young man ? 
It is a bad pfan to change about in this style." 

" I was expelled from my situation on a foul 
and most unjust accusation. I am seeking 
employment from necessity." 

" Expelled is a dark word, Aubrey ; i,t will 
hardly act as a passport to future situations. 
Expelled clerks are not in demand." 

" Still, I must state the truth unreservedly." 

" Let 's hear the whole business ; sit down." 

Without hesitation he narrated all the cir- 
cumstances, once or twice pausing to still the 
tempest of passion that flashed from his eyes. 
While he spoke Mr. Campbell's keen eyes 
searched hiin from head to foot, and at the 
conclusion he asked sharply : 

" Where is the watch, do you suppose ?" 

" Heaven only knows. I have a suspicion, 
but no right to utter it, since 1 might thereby 
inflict a wrong equal to that from which I now 
suffer." 

" It is a dark piece of business as it stands." 

" Yes, but time will clear it up." 

" See here, Aubrey; I have noticed you two 
or three times in the court-house listening to 
some of my harangues. I knew your father, 
and I should like to help you. It seems to me 
you might make better use of your talents 
than you are doing. And yet, if you rise it 
will be over greater obstacles than most men 
surmount. Do you understand me ?" 

"I do ; for I am too painfully aware of the 
prejudice against which I have to contend. 
But if I live, I shall lift myself out of this pool 
where malice and hate have thrust me." 

" What do you propose to do V" 

" Work at the plough or before the anvil, if 
nothing else can be done to support my moth- 
er and cousin ; and, as soon as I possibly can, 
study law. This is my plan, and tor two years 
I have been pursuing my Latin and Greek 
with an eye to accomplishing the scheme." 

" I see Fate has thumped none of your orig- 
inal obstinacy out of you. Aubrey, suppose 
I shut my eyes to the watch transaction, and 
take you into my office ?" 



MACARIA. 



19 



"If so, I 'shall do. my duty faithfully. But 
you said you did not need any one here, and 
though I am anxious to find work I do not ex- 
pect or desire to be taken in from charity. I 
intend to earn my wages, sir, and from your 
own account I should judge you had very little 
use for an assistant." 

" Humph ! a bountiful share of pride along 
with prodigious obstinacy. Though I am a 
lawyer, I told you the truth ; I have no earthly 
use for such assistants as I have been plagued 
with for several years. In the main, office- 
boys are a nuisance, comparable only to the 
locusts of Egypt ; I washed my hands of the 
whole tribe months since. Now I have a ne- 
gro to attend to my office, make fires, etc., and 
if I could only get an intelligent, ambitious, 
honorable, trustworthy young man, -he would 
be a help to me. 1 had despaired of finding 
such, but, on the whole, I rather like you ; 
believe you can suit me exactly if you will, 
and I am disposed to give you a trial. Sit 
down here and copy this paragraph ; let me 
see what sort of hieroglyphics I shall have to 
decipher if I make you my copyist." 

Russell silently complied, and after a care- 
ful examination it seemed the chirography 
was satisfactory. 

" Look there, Aubrey, does that array fright- 
en you ?" 

He pointed to the opposite side of the room, 
where legal documents of every shape and size 
were piled knee-deep for several yards. 

" They look formidable, sir, but nothing 
would afford me more pleasure than to fathom 
their mysteries." 

" And what security can you give me that 
the instant my back is turned you will not 
quit my work and go off to my books yonder, 
which I notice you have been eying very 
greedily." 

" No security, sir, but the promise of an 
honest soul to do its work faithfully and un- 
tiringly. Mr. Campbell, I understand my po- 
sition thoroughly ; 1 know only too well that I 
have everything to make — an honorable name, 
an unblemished reputation — and, relying only 
on myself, I expect to help myself. If you 
really need an assistant, and think me trust- 
worthy, I will be very glad to serve you, and 
shall merit your confidence. I come to you 
under adverse circumstances, with a tarnished 
character, and of course you feel some hesi- 
tancy in employing me. I have concealed 
nothing ; you are acquainted with all the facts, 
and must decide accordingly." 

There was nothing pleading in his tone or 
mien, but a proud, desperate calmness unu- 
sual in one of his age. When a truly honest, 
noble soul meets an equal, barriers of position 
and age melt like snow-flakes in sunshine, all 
extraneous circumstances fall away, and, di- 
vested of pomp or rags, as the cas,e may be, 
the full, undimmed majesty of spirit greets 
spirit, and clear-eyed Sympathy, soaring above 



the dross and dust of worldly conventionali- 
ties, knits them in bonds lasting as time. 
Looking into the resolute yet melancholy face 
before him, the lawyer forgot the poverty and 
disgrace clinging to his name, and leaning 
forward grasped his hand. 

" Aubrey, you and I can work peaceably to- 
gether ; I value your candor, I like your reso- 
lution. Come to me on Monday, and in the 
matter of salary you shall find me liberal 
enough. I think you told me you had a cousin 
as well as your mother to support ; I shall not 
forget it. Now, good-morning, and leave me, 
unless you desire to accumulate work for your- 
self." 

People called Mr. Campbell " miserly," 
" egotistic," and " selfish." These are harsh 
adjectives, and the public frequently applies 
them with culpable haste and uncharitable- 
ness, for there is an astonishing proclivity in 
human nature to detract, to carp, to spy out, 
and magnify faults. If at all prone to gener- 
ous deeds, Mr. Campbell certainly failed to 
placard them in public places ; he had never 
given any large amount to any particular 
church, institution, or society, but the few who 
knew him well indignantly denied the charge 
of penuriousness preferred by the community. 
A most unsafe criterion is public estimation ; 
it canonizes many an arch-hypocrite and mar- 
tyrs many a saint. 



CHAPTER IV 

From early childhood Irene had experi- 
enced a sensation of loneliness. Doubtless 
the loss of her mother enhanced this feeling, 
but the peculiarity of her mental organization 
would have necessitated it even under happier 
auspices. Her intellect was of the masculine 
order, acute and logical, rather deficient in 
the imaginative faculties, but keenly analyti- 
cal. It is an old predicate that women are de- 
ductionists — that womanly intuitions are swift 
and infallible. In richly-endowed female minds 
it not unfrequently happens that tedious, 
reflective processes are ignored ; but Irene 
was a patient rather than brilliant thinker, . 
and with singular perseverance searched every 
nook and cranny, and sifted every phase of 
the subject presented for investigation. Her 
conclusions were never hasty, and consequent- 
ly rarely unsound. From the time her baby- 
fingers first grasped a primer she became a 
student ; dolls and toys such as constitute the 
.happiness of most children had never possessed 
any attraction for her, and before she was 
eight years old she made the library her favor- 
ite resort. She would climb upon the moroc- 
co-covered table where stood two globes, one 
celestial, the other terrestrial, and spend hours 
in deciphering the strange, heathenish figures 
twined among the stars. When weary of 
studying the index of the thermometer and 



20 



MACARTA. 



barometer, and wondering why the quicksilver 
varied with sunshine and shower, she would 
throw herself down on the floor and fall asleep 
over the quaint pictures in an old English en- 
cyclopedia^ numbering thirty volumes. She 
haunted this room, and grew up among books 
centuries old. Thus until her tenth year there 
was no authority exerted over her, and the 
strong, reflective tendency of her mind rapidly 
developed itself. This ■ was an abnormal con- 
dition, and indisputably an unfortunate train- 
ing, and perhaps in after years it might have 
been better had she spent the season of care- 
less, thoughtless childhood in childish sports 
and childhood's wonted ways, for anxious 
inquiry and tedious investigations come soon 
enough with maturity. 

She was not an enthusiastic, impulsive nat- 
ure, fitful in moodiness or eestaey, inclined to 
passionate, demonstrations of any kind; but 
from infancy evinced a calm, equable temper- 
ament, uniformly generous and unselfish, but 
most thoroughly firm, nay obstinate, in any 
matter involving principle or conflicting with 
her opinions of propriety. How she obtained 
these notions of right and wrong in minor de- 
tails, was a subject of some mystery. They 
■were not the result of education in the ordi- 
nary acceptation of that term, for they had 
never been instilled by anybody ; and, like a 
wood-flower in some secluded spot, she lived, 
grew, and expanded her nature, without any 
influences to bias or color her views. In her 
promiscuous reading she was quite as apt to im- 
bibe poisonous as healthy sentipients ; and 
knowing that she had been blessed with few 
religious instructions, her father often wonder- 
ed at the rigidness of her code for self-regula- 
tion. Miss Margaret considered her " a strange 
little thing," and rarely interfered with her 
plans in any respect, while her father seemed 
to take it for granted that she required no 
looking after. He knew that her beauty was 
extraordinary ; he was proud of the fact ; and 
having provided her with a good music-master, 
and sent her to the best school in the county, 
he left her to employ her leisure as inclination 
prompted. Occasionally her will conflicted 
with his, and more than once he found it im- 
possible to make her yield assent to his wishes. 
To the outward observances of obedience and 
respect she submitted, but whenever these dif- 
ferences occurred he felt that in the end she 
was unconquered. Inconsistent as it may ap- 
pear, though fretted for the time by her firm- 
ness, he loved her the more for her "wilful- 
ness," as he termed it ; and despotic and ex- 
acting though he certainly was in many re- 
spects, he stood somewhat in awe of his pure- 
hearted, calm-eyed child. His ward and neph- 
ew, Hugh Seymour, had resided with him for 
several years, and it was well known that Mr. 
Huntingdon had pledged his daughter's hand 
to his sister's son. The age of infant betroth- 
ak has passed away, consequently this rare 



instance gave rise to a deal of gossipi"?. '■> 
ment. How the matter became P 1 ^ uc 
never knew ; probably Sparrowgrasse s 
rier-pigeon " migrated southward, tor it is now 
no uncommon thing to find one in oar cities 
and country towns; and at all events Mr. Hun- 
tingdon soon found that, his private domestic 
affairs were made an ordinary topic of con- 
versation in social circles. Irene had never 
been officially appriseS of her destiny, but sur- 
mised vary accurately the true state of the case. 
Between the two cousins there existed not the 
slightest congeniality of taste or di-position; 
not a svmpathetic link, save the tie of relation- 
ship. On her part there Was a moderate share 
of cousinly affection ; on his, as much love and 
tenderness as his selfish nature was capable of 
feeliug. They rarely quarrelled as most chil- 
dren do, for when (as frequently happened) he 
flew into a rage and tried to tyrannize, she 
scorned to retort in any way, and generally 
locked him out of the library. What she 
thought of her father's intentions concerning 
herself, no one knew ; she never alluded to the 
subject, and if in a frolicsome mood Hugh 
broached it, she invariably cut the discussion 
short. When he went to college iir a distant 
state she felt infinitely relieved, and during his 
vacations secluded herself as much as possible. 
Yet the girl's -heart was warm and clinging; 
she loved her father devotedly, and loved most 
intensely Electra Grey, whom she had first met 
at school. They were nearly the same age, 
class-mates, and firm friends. That she was 
beautiful, Irene of course knew quite as well 
as her father or any one else; how could she 
avoid knowing it V From her cradle she had 
been called " Queen'' aiid "Beauty;" all her 
acquaintances flattered her — strangers com- 
mented on her loveliness ; she no more doubted 
it than the fact of her existence ; and often 
stopped before the large parlor mirrors and ad- 
mired her own image, just as she would have 
examined and admired and enjoyed one of the 
elegant azaleas or pelargoniums in the green- 
house. I repeat it, she prized and enjoyed her 
loveliness, but she was not vain. She was no 
more spoiled by adulation than a meek and 
snowy camellia, or one of those immense gold- 
en-eyed pansies which astonish and delight 
visitors at the hothouses on Long Island. God 
conferred marvellous beauty on her, and she 
was grateful for the gift — but to the miserable 
weaknesses of vanity she was a stranger. In 
the midst of books and flowers she was happy, 
and seemed to desire no companions but Ere- 
bus and Paragon. She rode every day when 
the weather permitted, and the jetty horse, 
with its graceful young rider, followed by the 
slender, silky greyhound, was a familiar, spec- 
tacle in the vicinity of her home. She knew 
every hill and valley within ten miles of the 
town ; could tell where the richest, rarest hon- 
eysuckles grew, where the yellow jasmine 
clambered in greatest profusion, and always 



MACARIA. 



21 



found the earliest sprays of graybeard that 
powdered the forest. Often Mr. Huntingdon 
had ordered his horse and gone out in the 
dusky twilight to search for her, fearing that 
some disaster had overtaken his darling, 'and 
at such times met Erebus laden with her favor- 
ite flowers. These were the things she loved ; 
and thus, independent of society, yet conscious 
of her isolation, she grew up what nature 'in- 
tended' her to be. 

As totally different in character as appear- 
ance was Electra Grey. . Rather smaller and 
much thinner than Irene, with shining purplish 
black hair, large, sad, searching black eyes, 
from which there was no escape, a pale olive 
complexion, and full crimson lips that rarely 
smiled. The forehead was broad and promi- 
nent, and rendered very peculiar by the re- 
markable width between the finely-arched 
brows. The serene purity characteristic of 
Irene's features was entirely wanting in this 
face, which would have seemed Jewish in its 
contour but for the Grecian nose; and the 
melancholy yet fascinating eyes haunted the 
beholder with their restless, wistful, far-reach- 
ing expression. Electra was a dreamer, richly 
gifted ; dissatisfied because she could never 
attain that unreal world which her busy brain 
kept constantly before her. The child, of 
Genius is rarely, if ever, a happy one — 

" Heaven lies about us in our infancy." 

If so, its recollections cling tenaciously to 
those who, like Electra, seek continually for 
the airy castles of an ideal realm. Her vivid 
imagination shaped and painted, but, as too 
often happens, her eager blood and bone 
fingers could not grasp the glories. The thou- - 
sand cares, hardships, and rough handlings of 
Reality struck cold and jarring on her sensi- 
tive, highly-strung nature. She did not com- 
plain ; murmuring words had never crossed 
her lips in the hearing of any who knew her ; 
she loved her aunt too well to speak of sor- 
row or disappointment. Fourteen years had 
taught her an unusual amount of stoicism,' but 
sealed lips can not sepulchre grief, and trials 
have a language which, will not be repressed 
when the mouth is at rest. She looked not 
gloomy, nor yet quite unhappy, but like one 
who sees obstacles mountain-high loom between 
her and the destined goal, and asks only per- 
mission to press on. Hers was a passionate 
nature ; fierce blood beat in .her veins, and 
would not always be bound by icy fetters. 
There was no^erene plateau of feeling where 
she could repose ; she enjoyed keenly, raptu- 
rously, and suffered acutely, fearfully. Unfort- 
unately .for her, she had only Himalayan 
solitudes, sublime in their dazzling height, or 
valleys of Tophet, appalling with flame and 
phantom. She knew wherein she was gifted, 
she saw whither her narrow pathway led, and 
panted to set her little feet in the direction of 



the towering steeps crowned with the Temple 
of Art. To be an artist ; to put on canvas 
the grand and imperishable images that crowd- 
ed her brain, and almost maddened her because 
she could not give theca tangible form— this 
was the day-dream spanning her life like a 
bow of promise, but fading slowly as years 
thickened o'er her head and no helping hand 
cleared the choked path. " Poverty ! pover- " 
ty !" Many a night she buried her face under 
the pillow and hissed the word through closed 
teeth, fearful of disturbing the aunt who slum- 
bered at her side. Poverty ! poverty ! \\ hat 
an intolerable chain it binds around aspiring 
souls! And yet the world's great thinkers 
have felt this iron in their flesh, and, bursting 
the galling bond*, have carved their way to 
eminencc/to immortality. It is a lamentable 
and significant truth that, with a few honora- 
ble, noble exceptions, wealth is the Cannae of 
American intellect. Poverty is a rigid school, 
and the sessions are long and bitter ;_but the 
men and women who graduate therein come 
forth with physical frames capable of enduring 
all hardships, with hearts habituated to disap- 
pointment and fortified against the rebuffs of 
fortune, with intellects trained by patient, 
laborious, unbending application. The ten- 
derly-nurtured child of wealth and luxury 
very naturally and reasonably shrinks from 
difficulties; but increase the obstacles m the 
path of a son or daughter of penury, inured 
to trial, and in the same ratio you strengthen 
his or her ability and determination to sur- 
mount them. 

Electra's love of drawing had early dis- 
played itself; first, in strange, weird figures 
on her slate, then in her copy-book, on every 
slip of paper which she could, lay her hands 
upon ; and, finally, for want of more suitable 
material, she scrawled all over the walls of 
the little bedroom, to the great horror of her 
aunt, who spread a coat of whitewash over 
the child's frescos, and begged her to be guilty 
of no such conduct in future, as Mr. Clark 
might with great justice sue for damages. In 
utter humiliation Electra retreated to the 
garden, and here, after a shower had left the 
sandy walks white and smooth, .she would 
sharpen a bit of pine, and draw figures and 
faces of all conceivable and inconceivable 
.shapes. Chancing to find her thus engaged 
one Sunday afternoon, Russell supplied her 
with a package of drawing-paper and pencils. 
So long as these lasted she Was perfectly 
happy,' but unluckily their straitened cir- 
cumstances admitted of no such expenditure, 
and before many weeks she was again without 
materials. She would not tell Russell that 
she had exhausted his package, and passed 
sleepless nights trying to devise some method 
by which she could aid herself. It was posi- 
tive torture for her to sit in school and see 
the drawing-master go round, giving lessons 
on this side and that, skipping over her every 



.22 



MACARIA. 



time, because her aunt could not afford the 
extra three dollars. How longingly the eves 
followed the master's form— how hungrily they 
dwelt upon the sketches he leaned over to 
examine and retouch! Frequently during 
drawing-hour she would sit with her head bent 
down pretending to study, but the pages of 
the book were generally blistered with "tears 
which no eye but the Father's looked upon. 
There was, however, one enjoyment which 
nothing could steal from her : the town con- 
tained two book-stores, and here she was wont 
to linger over the numerous engravings and 
occasional oil-paintings they boasted. The 
proprietors and clerks seemed rather pleased 
than otherwise by the silent homage she paid 
their pictures, and, except to tender her a 
seat, no one ever interfered with her examina- 
tions. One engraving interested her particu- 
larly : it represented St. John on Patmos, 
writing Revelations. She went as usual one 
Saturday morning for another look at it, but 
a different design hung in its place ; she 
glanced around, and, surmising the object of 
her search, the proprietor told her it had 
been sold the day before. An expression of 
sorrow crossed her face, as though she had 
sustained an irreparable loss, and, drawing 
her bonnet -down, she went slowly homeward. 
Amid all these yearnings and aspirations she 
turned constantly to Russell with a worship- 
ping love that knew no bounds. She loved 
her meek, affectionate aunt as well as most 
natures love their mothers, and did all in her 
power to lighten her labors, but her affection 
for Russell bordered on adoration. In a char- 
acter so exacting and passionate as hers there 
is necessarily much of jealousy, and thus it 
came to pass that, on the day of Irene's visit 
to the cottage, the horrible suspicion took 
possession of her that he loved Irene better 
than herself. True, she was very young, but 
childish hearts feel as keenly as those of ma- 
turer years ; and Electra endured more agony 
during that day than in all of her past life. 
Had Irene been other than she was, in every 
respect, she would probably have hated her 
cordially ; as matters stood, she buried the 
suspicion deep in her own heart, and kept as 
much out of everybody's way as possible. Days 
and weeks passed very wearily ; she busied 
herself with her text-books, and, when the 
lessons had been recited, drew all over the 
margins — here a hand, there an entire arm, 
now and then a face, sad-eyed as Fate. 

Mrs. Aubrey's eyes became so blurred that 
finally she could not leave the house without 
having, some one to guide her, and, as cold 
weather had now arrived, preparations were 
made for her journey. Mr. Hill, who was go- 
inc.to New Orleans, kindly offered to take 
charge of her, and the day of departure was 
fixed. Electra packed the little trunk, saw it 
deposited on the top of the stage, in the dawn 
of an October morning saw her aunt comforta- 



bly seated beside Mr. Hill, and in another 
moment all had vanished. In the afternoon ot 
that day, on returning from school, plectra 
went to the bureau, and, unlocking a drawer, 
took out a small paper box. It contained a 
miniature of her father, s:t in a handsome 
gold frame. She knew it had been her moth- 
er's most valued trinket ; her aunt had care- 
fully kept it for her, and as often as the temp- 
tation assailed her she had resisted ; but now 
the longing for money triumphed over every 
other feeling. Having touched the spring, 
she took a knife and cautiously removed the 
bit of ivory beneath the glass, then deposited 
the two last in the box, put the gold frame in 
her pocket, and went out to a jewelry-store. 
As several persons had preceded her, she 
leaned against the counter, and, while waiting, 
watched with some curiosity the movements of 
one of the goldsmiths, who, with a glass over 
one eye, was engaged in repairing watches. 
Some had been taken from their cases, others 
were untouched ; and as her eyes passed swift- 
ly over the latter, they were suddenly riveted 
to a massive gold one lying somewhat apart. 
A half-smothered exclamation caused the 
workman to turn round and look at her; but 
in an instant she calmed herself, and, thinking 
it a mere outbreak of impatience, he resumed 
his'employment. Just then one of the propri- 
etors approached, and said politely, " I am 
sorry we have kept you waiting, Miss. What 
can I do for you ?" 

" What is this worth ?" 

She laid the locket down on the counter 
and looked up at him with eyes that sparkled 
very joyously, he thought. He examined it a 
moment, and said rather drily : 

" It is worth little or nothing to us, though 
you may prize it." 

" If I were to buy another just like it, would 
you charge me ' little or nothing?' " 

He smiled good-humoredly. 

" Buying and selling are different thing? 
don't you know that ? Come, tell me whu u 
you want to sell this for ?" 

" Because I want some money." 

" You are Mrs. Aubrey's niece, I believe ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Well, how do I know, in the first place, 
that it belongs to you ? Jewellers have to be 
very particular about what they buy." 

She crimsoned, and drew herself proudly 
away from the counter, then smiled, and held 
out her hand for the locket. 

" It is mine ; it held my father's miniature, 
but I took it out because I want a paint-box, 
and thought I could sell this case for enough 
to buy one. It was my mother's once ; here 
are her initials on the back — H. G., Harriet 
Grey. But of course you don't know whether 
I am telling the truth ; I will bring my cousin 
with me; he can prove it. Sir, are you so 
particular about everything you buy ?" 

" We try to be." 



MACARIA. 



23 



Again her eyes sparkled ; she bowed, and 
left the store. 

Onee in the street, she hurried to Mr. Camp- 
bell's office, ran up the steps, and rapped loudly 
at the door. 

" Come in !" thundered the lawyer. 

She stopped on the threshold, glanced round, 
and said timidly: 

" I want to see Russell, if you please." 

" Russell is at the post-office. Have you any 
particular spite at my door, that you belabor it 
in that style ? or do you suppose I am as deaf 
as a gate-post ?" 

" I beg your pardon ; I did not mean to 
startle you, sir. I was not thinking of either 
you or your door." 

She sprang down the steps to wait on the 
sidewalk for her cousin, and met him at the 
entrance. 

" Oh, Russell ! I have found your watch." 

A ray of light seemed to leap from his eyes 
as he seized her hand. 

" Where ?" 

" At Mr. Brown's jewelry-store." « 

" Thank God !" 

He went up the stairway, delivered the 
letters, and came back, accompanied by Mr. 
Campbell. 

" This is my cousin, Electra Grey, Mr. Camp- 
bell." 

" So I inferred from the unceremonious 
assault she made on my door just now. How- 
ever, shake hands, little lady ; it seems there is 
some reason for your haste. Let 's hear about 
this precious watch business." 

She simply told what she had seen. Pres- 
ently Russell said : 

" But how did you happen there, Electra ?" 

" Your good angel sent me, I suppose ; — " 
and she added, in a whisper, '' I will tell you 
some other time." 

On re-entering the store she walked at once 
to the workman's corner and pointed out the 
watch. 

" Yes, it is mine. I would know it among a 
thousand." 

" How can you identify it, Aubrey '?" 

He immediately gave the number, and name 
of the manufacturer, and described the interior 
tracery, not omitting the quantity of jewels. 
Mr. Campbell turned to the proprietor (the 
same gentleman with whom Electra had con- 
versed), and briefly recapitulated the circum- 
stances which had occurred in connection with 
the watch. Mr. Brown listened attentively, 
then requested' Russell to point out the particu- 
lar one that resembled his. He did so, and on 
examination the number, date, name, and all 
the marks corresponded so exactly that no 
doubt remained on the jeweller's mind. 

" Young man, you say you were accused of 
stealing your own watch ?" 

" Yes." 

" Then I will try to clear your name. This 
watch was brought here several weeks since, 



while I was absent. I am very guarded in 
such matters, and require my young men here 
to take a certificate of the name and place of 
residence of all strangers who offer articles for 
sale or exchange. I once very innocently 
bought some stolen property, and it taught me 
a lesson. This watch was sold for ninety dol- 
lars by a man named Rufus Turner, who lives 

in New Orleans, No. 240 street. I will 

write to him at once, and find out. if possible, 
how it came into his possession. I rather 
think he had some horses here for sale." 

" Did he wear green glasses ?" inquired 
Russell of the young man who had purchased 
the watch. 

" Yes, and had one arm in a sling." 

" I saw such a man here about the time my 
watch was missing." 

After some directions from Mr. Campbell 
concerning the proper course to be pursued, 
Electra drew out her locket, saying — 

" Now, Russell, is not this locket mine ?" 

" Yes ; but where is the miniature ? What 
are you going to do with it ?" 

" The miniature is at home, but I want to 
sell the frame, and Mr. Brown does not know 
but that it is another watch case ?" 

" If it is necessary, I will swear that it be- 
longs lawfully to you ; but what do you want 
to sell it for ? I should think you would prize 
it too highly to be willing to part with it." 

" I do prize the miniature, and would not 
part with it for any consideration ; but I want 
something far more than a gold case to keep 
it in." 

" Tell me what you want, and I will get it 
for you," whispered her cousin. 

" No ; I am going to sell this frame." 

"And I am going to buy it from you," said 
the kind-hearted merchant, taking it from her 
hand and weighing it. 

Russell and Mr. Campbell left the store, and 
soon after Mr. Brown paid Electra several 
dollars for the locket. 

In half an hour she had purchased a small 
box of paints, a supply of drawing-paper and 
pencils, and returned home, happier and 
prouder than many an empress whose jewels 
have equalled those of the Begums of Oude. 
She had cleared Russell's character, and her 
hands were pressed over her heart to still its 
rapturous throbbing. Happy as an uncaged 
bird, she arranged the tea-table and sat down 
to wait for him. He came at last, later than 
usual, and then she had her reward ; he took 
her in his. arms and kissed her. Yet, while 
his lip rested on hers, Irene's image rose be- 
fore her, and he felt her shiver as she clung to 
him. He was her idol, and the bare suggest- 
ion of his loving another better chilled the 
blood in her veins. He spoke little of the 
watch, appeared to miss his motherland soon 
went to his room and began to study. How 
ignorant he was of what passed in his cousin's 
heart ; how little he suspected the intensity of 



24 



MACARIA. 



her feelings ! Constantly occupied during the 
day, he rarely thought of her away from 
home; and though always kind and consider- 
ate he failed to understand her nature, or 
fully appreciate her affection for him. Many 
days elapsed before Mr. Turner's answer ar- 
rived. He stated that he had won the watch 
from Cecil Watson at a horse-race, where 
both were betting ; and proved the correctness 
of his assertion by reference to several persons 
who were present, and who resided in the 
town. Russell had suspected Cecil from the 
moment of its disappearance, and now, pro- 
vided with both letter and watch, and accom- 
panied by Mr. Brown, he repaired to Mr. 
Watson's store. Russell had been insulted, 
his nature was stern, and now he exulted in 
the power of disgracing the son of the man 
who had wronged biui. There was no flush 
on his face, but a cold, triumphant glitter in 
his eyes as he approached his former employ- 
er, and laid watch and letter before him. 

"What business have you here ?" growled 
the merchant, trembling before the expression 
of the boy's countenance. 

" My business is to clear my character which 
you have slandered, and to fix the disgrace you 
intended for me on your own son. I bring 
you the proofs of his, not my villany." 

" Come into the back room ; I will see Brown 
another time," said Mr. Watson, growing paler 
each moment. 

" No, sir ; you were not so secret in your 
dealings with me. Here where you insulted 
me you shall hear the whole truth. Read 
that. I suppose the twenty-dollar gold piece 
followed the watch." < 

The unfortunate father perused the letter 
slowly, and smothered a groan. Russell watch- 
ed him with a keen joy which he might have 
blushed to acknowledge had he analyzed his 
feelings. Writhing under his empaling eye, 
Mr. Watson said : 

" Have you applied to the witnesses referred 
to?" 

"Yes; they are ready to swear that they 
saw Cecil bet Turner the watch." 

" You did not tell them the circumstances, 
did you ?" 

" No." 

" Well, it is an unfortunate affair ; I want 
it dropped as quietly as possible. It will never 
do to have it known far and wide." 

"Aha ! you can feel the sting now. But 
remember you took care to circulate the slan- 
der on my name. I heard of it. You did not 
spare me, you did not spare my mother ; and, 
Jacob Watson, neither will I spare you. You 
never believed me guilty, but you hated me, 
and gloried in an opportunity of injuring me. 
Dp you suppose I shall shield your unprinci- 
pled son for your sake ? You showed me no 
mercy ; you may expect as little. The story of 
the watch shall make its way wherever we — " 

He paused suddenly, for the image of his 



gentle, frgiving mother rose 



x .„.„ before him, and 
ho knew that she would be grieved at the 
spirit he evinced. There was an awkward 
bilence, broken by Mr. Watsou. 

« ]f I retract all that I have said against 
you, and avow your innocence, will it satisiy 
you ? Will you be silent about Cecil I 

" No !" rose peremptorily to his lips, but he 
checked it ; and the patient teaching of years, 
his mother's precepts and his mother's prayers 
brought forth their first fruit— golden Charity. 

" You merit no forbearance at my hands, 
and I came here intending to show you none ; 
but, on reflection, 1 will not follow your exam- 
ple. Clear my name before the public, and I 
leave the whole affair with you. There has 
never been any love between us, because you 
were always despotic and ungenerous, but I 
am sorry for you now, for you have taught me 
how heavy is the burden you have to bear in 
future. Good-morning." 

Afraid to trust himself, he turned away and 
joined Mr. Campbell in the office. 

In the afternoon of the same day came a 
letter from Mr. Hill containing sad news. 
The oculist had operated on Mrs. Aubrey's 
eyes, but violent inflammation had ensued ; he 
had done all that scientific skill could prompt, 
but feared she would be hopelessly blind. At 
the close of the letter Mr. Hill stated that he 
would bring her home the following week. 
One November evening, just before dark, 
while Russell was cutting wood for the kitch- 
en-fire, the stage stopped at the cottage-gate, 
and he hurried forward to receive his mother 
in bis arms. It was a melancholy reunion; 
for a moment the poor sufferer's fortitude for- 
sook her, and she wept. But his caresses 
soothed her, and she followed Electra into 
the house while he brought in the trunk. 
When shawl and bonnet bad been removed, 
and Electra placed her in the rocking-chair, 
the light fell on face and figure, and the cous- 
ins started at the change that had taken place. 
She. was so ghastly pale, so very much reduced. 
She told them all that had occurred during 
the tedious weeks of absence ; how much she 
regretted having gone since the trip proved so 
unsuccessful ; how much more she deplored 
the affliction on their account than her own ; 
and then from that hour no allusion was ever 
made to it. 



CHAPTER V 

Weeks and months slipped away, and total 
darkness came down on the widow. She 
groped with some difficulty from room to room, 
and Electra was compelled to remain at home 
and watch over her. Russell had become a 
great favorite with his crusty employer, and, 
when the labors of the office were ended, 
brought home such books as ho needed, and 
spent his evenings in study. His powers of 



MACARIA. 



25 



application and endurance were extraordi- 
nary, and his progress was in the same ratio. 
As he became more and more absorbed in 
these pursuits his reserve and taciturnity in- 
creased, and his habitually hasty step arid ab- 
stracted expression of countenance told of a 
strong nature straining its powers to the ut- 
most to attain some distant, glimmering goal. 
His employer was particularly impressed by 
the fact that he never volunteered a remark 
on any subject, and rarely opened his lips ex- 
cept to ask some necessary information in 
connection with his business. Sometimes the 
silence of the office was unbroken for hours, 
save by the dull scratching of pens, or an 
impatient exclamation from Mr. Campbell. 
Respectful in deportment, attentive to his du- 
ties, never presuming upon kindness, constant- 
ly at work from morning until night, yet with 
an unmistakable sorrow printed on his face — 
a sorrow never obtruded on any one, never 
alluded to — he won first the rigid scrutiny of 
the lawyer, then his deepest, most abiding 
affection. Naturally cold and undemonstra- 
tive in manner, Mr. Campbell gave little evi- 
dence of feeling of any kind, yet the piercing 
blue eye lost its keenness when resting on the 
tall, stalwart form of the clerk, and once or 
twice the wrinkled hand sought his broad 
shoulder almost caressingly. He had not mar- 
ried ; had neither mother nor sisters to keep 
his nature loving and gentle ; and, though he 
occasionally visited his brother, who was a 
minister in the same town, he was held in awe 
by the members of that brother's family. He 
comprehended Russell's character, and quietly 
facilitated his progress. There was no syco- 
phancy on the part of the young man ; no 
patronage on that of the employer. 

One afternoon Irene tapped lightly at the 
cottage-door, and entered the kitchen. Mrs. 
Aubrey sat in a low chair close to the fireplace, 
engaged in knitting ; her smooth, neat calico 
dress and spotless linen collar told that care- 
ful hands tended her, and the soft auburn 
hair brushed over her temples showed broad 
bands of gray as the evening sun shone on it. 
She turned her brown, sightless eyes toward 
the door, ind asked in a low voice : 

" Who is it ?" 

" It is only me, Mrs. Aubrey." - 

Irene bf.nt down, laid her two hands on the 
widow's, and kissed her forehead. 

" 1 am glad to hear your voice, Irene ; it 
has been a long time since you were here." 

" Yes, a good many weeks, I know ; but I 
could not come" 

"Are you well? Your hands and face are 
cold." 

" Yes, thank you, very well. I am always 
cold, I believe. Hugh says I am. Here are 
some flowers from the greenhouse. I brought 
them because they are so fragrant ; and here, 
too, are a few oranges from the same place. 
Hush ! don't thank me, if you please. I wish 



I could come here oftener. I always feel bet- 
ter after being with you ; but I can't always 
come when I want to do so." 

" Why not, Irene ?" 

" Oh, because of various things. Between 
school and music, and riding and readings I 
have very little time ; and, besides, father 
Wants me with him when he is at home. I 
play chess with him, and sometimes we are 
three or four days finishing one game. Some- 
how, Mrs. Aubrey, though I don't mean to be 
idle, it seems to me that I do very little. Ev- 
erybody ought to be of some use in this world, 
but I feel like a bunch of mistletoe growing 
on somebody else, and doing nothing. I don't 
intend to sit down and hold my hands all my 
life, but what can I do ? Tell me how to 
begin." 

She lifted a large tortoise-colored cat from 
a small stool and drew it near the hearth, just 
at the widow's feet, seating herself and re- 
moving her hat. 

" That is more easily asked than answered ; 
you are a great heiress, Irene, and in all hu- 
man probability will never be obliged to do 
anything. For what is generally denominated 
work, you will have no occasion ; but all who 
wish to be really happy should be employed in 
some way. You will not have to labor for 
your food and clothes like my Russell and 
Electra ; but you will have it in your power 
to do a vast deal more good. In cultivating 
your mind, do not forget your heart ; it is, nat- 
urally full of very generous, noble impulses ; 
but all human beings have faults ; what yours 
may be you know best, and you should con- 
stantly strive to correct them. Read your 
Bible, dear child ; not now and then, but 
daily and prayerfully. Oh, Irene ! I have had 
some bitter, bitter sorrows, and frequently I 
thought that they would crush out my life. 
In those times of trial, if I had not had my 
Bible and my God I believe I should have lost 
my reason. But I read and was comforted. 
His promises sustained me ; and in looking 
back I see many places which should be called 
Jeliovah-Jireh, for the Lord saw and provided. 
Your Bible will teach you your duty much 
better than I possibly can. You owe your 
father a great deal ; his hopes and joys centre 
in you, and through life he will look to you 
for his happiness. When you are grown, soci- 
ety, too, will claim you ; you will be sought 
after and flattered ; and, Irene, under these 
circumstances — with your remarkable beauty 
and wealth — you will find it a difficult matter ' 
to avoid being spoiled. Your influence will 
be very great, and a fearful responsibility 
must attend its employment. Let it be for 
good. Try to keep your heart free from all 
selfish or ignoble feelings ; pray to God for 
guidance, that you may be enabled through 
His grace to keep yourself ' unspotted from 
the world ;' those words contain the whole : 
' unspotted from the world.' You have not 



MACARIA. 



been spoiled thus far by luxury and life-long 
petting, and I hope and believe that you never 
will be ; but remember, we must be continu- 
ally on the watch against temptation. Irene, 
have I spoken too plainly ?" 

"No; I thank you for your candor. I want 
you to advise me just as you would Electra. 
I don't read my Bible as often as I oujjht, but 
there are so many things in it which I" do not 
understand that I hardly ever open it now. 
I have nobody to explain the difficulties." 

" It is very clear on the subject of our duty ; 
God left not the shadow of mystery in his laws 
for the government of the heart and regula- 
tion of the life. He commands us to receive 
certain rules, to practice certain principles, 
and to abstain from certain sinful things, all 
of which are specified, and not to be mistaken 
by even the most obtuse. Melvill has said, in 
one of his beautiful and comforting sermons : 
' God breathed himself into the compositions 
of prophets and apostles and evangelists, and 
there, as in the mystic recesses of an everlast- 
ing sanctuary, he still resides, ready to dis- 
close himself to the humble and to be evoked 
by the prayerful. But in regard to every 
other book, however fraught it may be with 
the maxims of piety, however pregnant with 
momentous truth, there is nothing of this 
shrining himself of Deity in the depths of its 
meaning. Men may be instructed by its pages, 
and draw from them hope and consolation, but 
never will they find there the burning She- 
kinah which proclaims the actual presence of 
God ; never hear a voice as from the solitudes 
of an oracle pronouncing the words of immor- 
tality.' " 

" How then does it happen, Mrs. Aubrey, 
that different churches teach such conflicting 
doctrines ? Why are there so many denomi- 
nations ? If the teachings of the Bible are so 
plain, how can such various creeds arise ?" 

" Because poor human nature is so full of 
foibles ; because charity, the fundamental doc- 
trine of Christ, is almost lost sight of by those 
churches ; it has dwindled into a mere speck, 
in comparison with the trifles which they have 
magnified to usurp its place. Instead of one 
great Christian church holding the doctrines 
of the New Testament, practising the true 
spirit of the Saviour, and in genuine charity 
allowing its members to judge for themselves 
in the minor questions relating to religion- 
such for instance as the mode of baptism, the 
privilege of believing presbyters and bishops 
equal in dignity or otherwise, as the case may 
be, the necessity of ministers wearing surplices 
or the contrary, as individual taste dictates — 
we have various denominations, all erected to 
promulgate some particular dogma, to magnify 
and exalt as all-important some trifling differ- 
ence in the form of church-government. Once 
established, the members of each sect apply 
themselves to the aggrandizement of their 
peculiar church; and thus it comes to pass 



that instead of one vast brotherhood, united 
against sin and infidelity, they are disgracefully 
wrangling about sectarian matters of no con- 
sequence whatever. In *1I this there is much 
totally antagonistic to the principles inculcated 
by our Saviour, who expressly denounced the 
short-sighted bigotry of those who magnified 
external observances and non-essentials at the 
expense of the genuine spirit of their religion. 
I wish most earnestly that these denomination- 
al barriers and distinctions could be swept 
away, that the names of Methodist and Epis- 
copal, Presbyterian and Baptist could be 
obliterated, and that all the members were 
gatBered harmoniously into one world-wide 
pale, the Protestant Church of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." 

" Mrs. Aubrey, do you belong to any 
church ?" 

" Yes, Irene, because Christ founded a 
church, and I think every man and woman 
should belong to some religious organization. 
Moreover, unless a member of some one of 
the denominations, you can not commune ; 
and, as the sacrament particularly established 
by our Saviour, all ought to be able to partake 
of it. I think it a matter of little consequence 
which of the evangelical sects one selects. 
Do not imagine that I believe people can only 
be saved by entrance into some church ; I 
think no such thing ; the church is a valuable 
instrument, but God who established it "can 
work without it. Still, it is very reasonable 
to suppose that regular attendance on divine 
service fosters piety, and keeps the subject of 
our duty more constantly before us." 

She had finished her knitting, and sat with 
her thin hands folded in her lap — the meek 
face more than usually serene, the sightless 
eyes directed toward her visitor. Sunshine 
flecked the bare boards under the window, 
flashed on the tin vessels ranged on the 
shelves, and lingered like a halo around 
Irene's head. Her hair swept on the floor, 
and the cat played now and then with the 
golden rings so softl/ 1 as not to attract notice, 
as though conscious the new toy was precious. 
The countenances of the group contrasted 
vividly : the sweet resignation of the blind 
sufferer, the marble purity of Irene's face, and, 
just in the rear, Electra's broad, pale brow and 
restless, troubled, midnight eyes. The latter 
had been drawing at the table in the. middle 
of the room, and now sat leaning on her hand, 
watching the two at the fire. Presently Irene 
approached and began to examine the draw- 
ings, which were fragmentary, except one or 
two heads, and a sketch taken from the bank 
opposite the Falls. After some moments 
passed in looked over them, Irene addressed 
the quiet little figure. 

" Have you been to Mr. Clifton's studio ?" 

" No ; who is he ?" 

" An artist from New York. His health is 
poor, and he is spending the winter South. 



MAC ARIA. 



27 



Have n't you heard of him ? Everybody is ■ 
having portraits taken. He is painting mine 
now — father would make me sit again, though 
he has a likeness which was painted four 
years ago. I am going down to-morrow for 
my last sitting, and should like very much for 
you to go with me. Perhaps Mr. Clifton can 
give you some valuable hints. Will you go '?" 

" With great pleasure." 

" Then I will call for you a little before ten 
o'clock. Here are some crayons I bought for 
you a week ago. Good-by." 

She left the room as quietly as she had 
entered, and found Paragon waiting for her 
at the door. He gambolled before her all the 
way — now darting ofF, and as suddenly re- 
turning, to throw himself at her feet and 
wonder why she failed to caress him as usual. 
Other thoughts engaged her now ; she could 
see nothing but the form of the widow, and 
to-day she realized more than eve"r before how 
much she needed a mother. Low, sweet, gen- 
tle tones rarely fell upon her ear, and, except 
her father and Dr. Arnold, no one had ever 
attempted to caress her. She wearied of the 
fourteen years of isolation, and now on enter- 
ing her fifteenth looked about her for at least 
one congenial spirit. She knew of none but 
Electra and Mrs. Aubrey who in any degree 
sympathized with her, and from these she was 
debarred by parental interdict. Miss Mar- 
garet, seconded by Mr. Huntingdon, now 
constantly prescribed a course of conduct 
detestable to the girl, who plainly perceived 
that as she grew older these differences . in- 
creased. Was it her duty to submit unhesi- 
tatingly to their dictation ? Did the command 
of filial obedience embrace all such matters, 
or was it modified — limited by the right of 
individual conscience ? This consultation was 
long and patient, and the conclusion unalter- 
able. She would do what she believed to be 
proper, whatever she thought her duty, at all 
hazards. She had no one to guide her, and 
must rely only on God and her own heart. 

The following day Miss Margaret accom- 
panied her to the studio. As the carriage 
approached the cottage-gate Irene directed 
the driver to stop. 

" For what V" asked her aunt. 

" Electra Grey is going with me ; T prom- 
ised to call for her. She has an extraordina.r 
talent for drawing, and I want to introduce 
her to Mr. Clifton. Open the door, Andrew." 

"Irene, are you deranged? Your father 
never would forgive you if he knew you asso- 
ciated with those people. I can't think of 
allowing that girl to enter this carriage. 
Drive on. I must really speak to Leonard 
about your obstinacy in visiting at that — " 

" Stop, Andrew ! If you don't choose to 
ride with Electra, Aunt Margaret, you may 
go on alone, for either she shall ride or I will 
walk with her " 

Andrew opened the door, and she was 



stepping out, when Electra appeared in the 
walk and immediately joined her. Miss Mar- 
garet was thoroughly aroused and indignant, 
but thought it best to submit for the time, 
and when Irene introduced her friend she 
took no notice of her whatever, except by 
drawing herself up in one corner and lower- 
ing her veil. The girls talked during the 
remainder of the ride, and when they reached 
Mr. Clifton's door ran up the steps together, 
totally unmindful of the august lady's ill- 
humor. 

The artist was standing before an easel 
which held Irene's unfinished portrait, and as 
he turned to greet his visitors Electra saw 
that, though thin and pale, his face was one 
of rare beauty and benevolence. His brown 
curling hair hung loosely about his shoulders, 
and an uncommonly long beard of the same 
silky texture descended almost to his waist. 
He shook hands with Irene, and looked in- 
quiringly at her companion. 

" Mr. Clifton, this is Miss Electra Grey, 
whose drawings I mentioned to you last week. 
I wish, if you please, you would examine some 
of them when you have leisure." 

Electra looked for an instant into his large, 
6lear gray eyes as he took her drawings, and 
said he would be glad to assist her, and knew 
that henceforth the tangled path would be 
smoothed and widened. She stood at the back 
of his chair during the hour's sitting, and with 
peculiar interest watched the strokes of his 
brush as the portrait grew under his practised 
hand. When Irene rose, the orphan moved 
away and began to scrutinize the numerous 
pictures scattered about the room. A great 
joy filled her heart and illumined her face, and 
she waited, for the words of encouragement 
that she felt assured would be spoken. The 
artist looked over her sketches slowly, careful- 
ly, and his eye went back to her brilliant 
countenance, as if to read there answers to ci- 
phers which perplexed him. But yet more 
baffling cryptography met him in the deep, 
flashing, appealing eyes, on the crimson, quiv- 
ering lips, on the low, full brow, with its wide- 
ly-separated black arches. Evidently the face 
possessed far more attraction than the draw- 
ings, and he made her sit down beside him, 
and passed his hand over her head and tem- 
ples, as a professed phrenologist might prepar- 
atory to rendering a chart. 

" Your sketches are very rough, very crude 
but they also display great power of thought 
some of them singular beauty of conception 
and I see from your countenance that you are 
dissatisfied because the execution falls so far 
short of the conception. Let me talk to you 
candidly : you have uncommon talent, but 
the most exalted genius can not dispense with 
laborious study. Michael Angelo studied anato- 
my for twelve years ; you will require long and 
earnest application before you can possibly ac- 
complish anything of importance. The study of 



28 



MAC ARIA. 



Art is no mere pastime, as some people sup- 
pose ; an artist's life is an arduous one at best. 
I have been told something of your history ; 
you are very poor, and wish to make painting 
a profession. Think well before you decide 
this matter : remember that long, tedious 
months must elapse before you can hope to 
execute even an ordinary portrait. You must 
acquaint yourself with the anatomy of the hu- 
man system before you undertake anything. 
I thought I had finished my course seven years 
ago, but I went to Italy and soon saw that I 
had only begun to learn my profession. Think 
well of all this." 

" I have thought of it ; I am willing to work 
any number of years. ; I have decided, and I 
am not be frightened from my purpose. I am 
poor, I can barely buy the necessary mate- 
rials, much less the books, but I will be an 
artist yet. I have decided, sir ; it is no new 
whim ; it has been a bright dream to me all 
my life, and I am determined to realize it." 

" Amen ; so let it be, then. I shall remain 
here some weeks longer; come to me ever}' 
day at ten o'clock, and I will instruct you. 
You shall have such books as you need, and 
with perseverance you have nothing to. fear." 

He went into the adjoining room and re- 
turned with a small volume. As he gave it to 
her, with some directions concerning the con- 
tents, she caught his hand to her lips, saying 
hastily : 

"My guardian angel certainly brought you 
here to spend the winter. Oh, sir ! I will 
prove my gratitude for your goodness by show- 
ing that I am not unworthy of it. I thank 
you from the very depths of my glad heart." 

As she released his hand and left the studio 
he found two bright drops on his fingers — drops 
called forth by the most intense joy she had 
ever known. Having some commission from 
her aunt, she did not re-enter the carriage, 
and, after thanking Irene for her kindness, 
walked away. The ride home was very 
silent ; Miss Margaret sat stiff and icy, looking 
quite insulted, while her niece was too much 
engrossed by other reflections to notice her. 
The latter spent the remainder of the morn- 
ing in writing to Hugh and correcting her 
French exercises, and when summoned to 
dinner she entered the room expecting a 
storm. A glance sufficed to show her that 
Miss Margaret had not yet spoken to her 
father, though it was evident from her coun- 
tenance that she was about to make what she 
considered an important revelation. The 
meal passed, however, without any allusion to 
the subject, and, knowing what she had to 
expect, Irene immediately withdrew to the 
library to give her aunt an opportunity of un- 
burdening her mind. The struggle must come 
some time, and she longed to have it over as 
soon as possible. She threw up the sash, 
seated herself on the broad cedar window-siH, 
and began to work out a sum in algebra. 



Nearly a half-hour passed ; the slamming of 
the dining-room door was like the first line of 
foam curling and whitening the sea when the 
tempest sweeps forward ; her father stamped 
into the library, and the storm broke over 
her. 

" Irene ! did n't I positively order you to 
keep away from that Aubrey family ? What 
do you mean by setting me at defiance in this 
way, you wilful, spoiled, hard-headed piece? 
Do you suppose I intend to put up with your 
obstinacy all my life, and let you walk rough- 
shod over me and my commands ? You have 
queened it long enough, my lady. If I don't 
rein you up, you will turn your aunt and me 
out of the house next, and invite that precious 
Aubrey crew to take possession. Your con- 
founded stubbornness will ruin you yet. You 
deserve a good whipping, Miss ; I can hardly 
keep my hands off of you." 

He did not ; rough hands seized her shoul- 
ders, jerked her from the window-sill, and 
shook her violently. Down fell book, slate, 
and pencil with a crash ; down swept the 
heavy hair, blinding her. She put it back, 
folded her hands behind her as if for support, 
and, looking up at him, said in a low, steady, 
yet grieved tone : 

" I am very sorry you are angry with me, 
Father." 

" Devilish sorry, I. dare say ! Don't be hyp- 
ocritical ! Did n't I tell you to keep away 
from those people ? Don't stand there like a 
block of stone ; answer me !" 

" Yes, sir ; but I did not promise to do so. 
I am not hypocritical, Father." 

" You did not promise, indeed ! What do I 
care for promises ? It was your duty to obey 
me." 

" I don't think it was, Father, when you re- 
fused to give me any reason for avoiding Mrs. 
Aubrey or her family. They are unfortunate, 
but honorable people ; and, being very poor 
and afflicted, I felt sorry for them. I can't 
see how my going- there occasionally harms 
you, or me, or anybody else. I know very 
well that you dislike them, but you never told 
me why, and I can hot imagine any good 
reason for it. Father, if I love them, why 
should not I associate with them ?" 

" Because I say you shan't ! you tormenting, 
headstrong little imp !" 

" My Father, that is no reason." 

" Reason ! I will put you where you will 
have no occasion for reasons. Oh! I can 
match you, you perverse little wretqh ! I am 
going to send you to a boarding-school, do you 
hear that ? send you where you will have no 
Aubreys to abet your obstinacy and disobe- 
dience ; where that temper of yours can be 
curbed. How will you relish getting up be- 
fore day, kindling your own fire, if vou have 
any, making your own bed, and livimr on 
bread and water? I will take you to New- 
York, and keep you there till you are grown 



MACARIA 

Now get out of my 



29 



and learn common sense 
sight !" 

With a stamp of rage he pointed to the 
door. Hitherto she had stood quite still, but 
now an expression of anguish passed swiftly 
over her face, and she put out her hands ap- 
pealingly — 

" Father ! my Father ! don't send me away ! 
Please let me stay at home." 

" Not if J live long enough to take you. 



The first great grief of her life had fallen 
on her ; heretofore all had been so serene, so 
flowery, that she could not easily understand 
or endure the crushing weight on her heart. 
Reared in seclusion, the thought of being sent 
from her beautiful, luxurious home, and thrust 
among utter strangers, startled and filled her 
with dread. She was astonished, pained, and 
mortified by her father's harsh language ; and, 
oving him very sincerely, she shrank from the 



these complex emotions, she felt not the slight- 
est regret for the course she had pursued ; 
under similar circumstances she would again 
act just as she had done. Then came the re- 
membrance that she might meet her unfort- 
unate friends no more. Mrs. Aubrey ,,was 
evidently declining rapidly, and what would 
become of Electra and Russell ? They might 
move away ; they, too, might die ; nay, she 
might never come back to the home of her 
birth ; death's harvest was in all seasons, and, 
looking upon the lakelet, she shuddered and 
moaned. The snowy water-lilies glanced up 
at her, and seemed to say, as they trembled 
unceasingly in the current far below the -sur- 
face, " Bend ! bend !" A passage in Dante, 
which she had read the week before, crossed 
her mind now, as she noted the constant 
swaying of the fragile flowers, so impotent to 
resist that under-current sweeping their roots: 



' : — No other plant, 

Covered with leaves, or harden 
There lives, not bending io the 



■■1 in its stalk, 
'.vaier's sway." 



Just as certainly as the sun shines in heaven, I long separation he threatened; yet, amid all 

you will go as soon as your clothes can be 

made. Your aunt will have you ready in a 

week. Don't open your mouth to me ! I 

don't want to hear another word from you. 

Take yourself off." 

She picked up her slate and book and left 
the room. Her ha.t hung on the rack in the 
hall, and, taking it down, she passed out 
through the rear piazza. Paragon leaped 
and whined at sight of her; she unchained 
him, and, leaving the yard, turned into a nar- 
row zigzag path leading in an opposite direc- 
tion from the front of the house. The build- 
ing stood on quite a hill, one side of which 
sloped down to the brink of a creek that emp- 
tied itself into the river a mile above the 
town. This declivity was thickly wooded, and, 
on the opposite side of the stream, a dense 
swamp stretched away. Cypress, pine, beech, 
•magnolias, towered far as the eye could reach, 
and now, in the gathering gloom of evening, 
looked sombre and solemn. This was a favorite 
haunt of Irene's; she knew every nook of the 
forest and bend of the creek as well as the shy 
rabbits that flitted away at her approach; and 
on this occasion she sought a rude seat form- 
ed by the interlacing of two wild grape-vines. 
At her feet the channel ran deep and strong, 
and the rocky bed was distinctly seen ; but a 
few yards oil' the stream widened into a small 
lake, and there, on its dark, still surface 
masses of water-lilies spread out their broad, 
greet*, glossy leaves. It was a lonely place ;' 
even in the day owls hooted one to another; 
and strange, harsh cries were heard from birds 
that never forsook the'swamp. It was April, 
early April, and from the hill-side, fringed with 
honeysuckles of varied hue, and festooned with 
yellow jasmine that clambered in wild luxuri- 
ance over tree and shrub, the southern breeze 
wafted spicy, intoxicating aromas. Redbuds 
lifted their rosy limbs against dark, polished 
magnolias, and here and there masses of snow 
told where the dogwoods grew. Clusters of 
violets embroidered the hill-side, and crimson 
woodbine trailed over the ground, catching at 
every drooping bough, and climbing stealthily,- 
anxious, like all weak natures, to hang on 
something sturdy. Irene usually»revelled amid 
this wealth of floral beauty, but now she could 
not enjoy it. She looked: at her favorites, and 
understood what was meant by the words — 



,; I see them all so excellently fair, 
I see, not feel, how beautiful they are.' 



He had sele"ted reeds as a type of Patience, 
but the pale, pure, quivering lilies were to her 
a far more impressive symbol of Resignation. 
An aged gnarled cypress towered above her, 
and from the knotted limbs drooped long 
funeral wreaths of gray moss, fluttering mourn- 
fully in the evening wind, like badges of crape 
in houses of death. From amid this sombre 
drapery came the lonely hoot of an owl, and, 
with a strange sensation of desolation, Irene 
fell on her knees and committed herself to the 
care of the Great §hepherd. Darkness closed 
around, but as she prayed the silver rays of 
the evening-star peered down through the 
trembling streamers of moss and gleamed on 
the upturned face. She broke one of the 
lilies, and, fastening it among her curls, followed 
Paraxon up the hill-side. 

The week which succeeded was wretched to 
the girl, for her father's surveillance prevented 
her trom visiting the cottage, even to suy adieu 
to its inmates ; and no alternative presented 
itself but to leave for them (in the hands of 
Nellie, her devoted nurse) a note containing a 
few parting words and assurances of unfading 
friendship and remembrance. The day of 
departure dawned rainy, gloomy, and the wind 
sobbed and wailed down the avenue as Irene 
stood at her window looking out on the. lawn 
where her life had been passed. Although 
Nellie was weeping bitterly at her side, she 



30 



maCaria. 



had not shed a tear ; but the face was full of 
grief, and her little hands were clasped tightly 
as the faithful nurse pressed them affectionately 
in her palms. Disengaging herself, Irene took 
an umbrella and went to the stable for a last 
look at Erebus. This tried her sorely, and 
her lip was unsteady when she left him and 
sought Paragon. The latter, little suspecting 
the true state of affairs, gambolled and whined 
as joyously as ever at her approach ; and, 
when the crowned head went down moaningly 
on his silky neck, he barked and frisked in 
recognition of the caress. The breakfast-bell 
summoned her away, and, a half-hour after, 
she saw the lofty columns of the old house 
fade from view, and knew that many months, 
perhaps years, must elapse before the ancestral 
tree's of the long avenue would wave again 
over the head of their young mistress. Her 
father sat beside her, moody and silent, and, 
when the brick wall and arched iron gate 
vanished from her sight, she sank back in one 
corner, and, covering her face with her hands, 
smothered a groan and fought desperately 
with her voiceless anguish. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Youth is hopeful, beautifully hopeful, and 
fresh pure hearts rebound from sorrow with 
wonderful elasticity. When clouds lower and 
the way seems dark and tangled, Hope flies 
forward, pioneer-like, to clear away all obsta- 
cles. Huge barriers frowned between Electra 
and the heights she strained every nerve to 
reach, but never for an instant did she doubt 
the success of the struggle. Like Orpheus 
seeking Eurydice, to look back was fearful 
and hazardous; and, fixing her eyes steadily 
on the future, she allowed herself no haunting 
foreboding. 

" Cry, faint not ! climb the summit's slope 
Beyond the furthest flights, of hope, 
"VViMpt in dense cloud from base to cope." 

What human powers can endure and ac- 
complish is to be measured only by the neces- 
sity which goads, and all herculean trophies 
are won by desperate needs. The laws which 
govern our moral and intellectual natures are 
as rigid and inevitable in their operation as 
those whose workings we constantly trace in 
the physical world — of which truth the history 
of nations and memoirs of great men furnish 
innumerable exemplifications. Consequently 
it is both unjust and illogical to judge of the 
probability, of this or that event or series of 
events, or the naturalness of this or that char- 
acter, whether in authenticated history or fic- 
titious works, without a thorough acquaintance 
with all antecedents and the various relations 
surrounding the actor. Reader, as you walk 
side by side with these whose lives 1 am nar- 
rating, bear this in mind— the silver-winged 
pigeons that flash in and out of the venerable 



trees shading the old homestead, and coo and 
flutter amid the rainbow-spray of the fountain, 
would droop, shiver, and die on bald, awfu 
Alpine pinnacles, where in the fierce howl 
and scourging of tempests eaglets wheel in 
triumph, and scream defiantly ; and tender pet 
lambs, coaxed into flowery, luxuriant mead- 
ows, would soon make their graves in the 
murderous snow over which young chamois 
bleat and skip in wild glee, fearless as the ever- 
lasting hills. 

Day after day Electra toiled over her work ; 
the delicate frame learned its destiny, sighed 
at its future, but grew strong ; and complain- 
ing nerves, catching some of her iron resolve, 
endured patiently — became finally thoroughly 
inured to their arduous duties. Her aunt 
constantly claimed her attention for the various 
little offices so grateful to an invalid, but by 
an extraordinary alchemy she contrived to 
convert every interruption into an occasion 
of profit. If lending her arm to support the 
drooping form in a short walk around the 
little garden, she would describe the varying 
tints of sky, as the clouds shifted their gor- 
geous curtains of purple and scarlet and«gold, 
until thoroughly familiarized with the varied 
chameleon hues and strange, grotesque out- 
lines traced by every rift. Nature was a 
vast storehouse of matchless, unapproachable 
beauty to that eager, thirsty soul — a boundless 
studio, filled with wonderful creations, open to 
her at all times — in the rosy, opaline flush of 
morning, the blazing splendor of full-orbed 
noon, the silver-gray of twilight, peopled with 
dusky phantoms, weird and shifting as Fata- 
Morgana — the still sublimity, the solemn, sa- 
cred witchery of star-crowned, immemorial 
Night. She answered the first hoarse call of 
thunder by stationing herself at the window to 
watch the stormy panorama sweep over the 
heavens ; and not Ruysdael, nor Vandervelde, 
nor Turner ever gazed with more intense de- 
light on the hurrying masses of vapor than that 
fragile girl, as she stood with the forked light- 
ning glaring luridly, over her upturned, enrapt- 
ured face. Favored . ones of fortune lean 
against marble pillars in royal museums to 
study the imperishable works of earth's grand- 
est old artists ; but she lived in a cosmopolitan 
temple whose skyey frescos were fresh from 
the hands of Jehovah himself. The rapidity 
of her progress astonished Mr. Clifton. He 
questioned her concerning the processes she 
employed in some of her curious combinations, 
but the fragmentary, abstracted nature of her 
conversation during the hours of instruction 
gave him little satisfactory information. His 
interest in her increased, until finally it be- 
came absorbing, and he gave her all the time 
that she could spare from home. The eager- 
ness with which she listened to his directions, 
the facility with which she applied his rules, 
fully repaid him ; and from day to day he 
postponed his return to the North, reluctant 



MACARIA. 



31 



to leave his indefatigable pupil. Now and 
then the time of departure was fixed, but ere 
it arrived he wavered and procrastinated. 

Eleetra knew that his stay had been pro- 
longed beyond his original intention, and she 
dreaded the hour when she should be deprived 
of his aid and advice. Though their acquaint- 
ance had been so short, a strangely strong 
feeling- had grown up in her heart toward 
him; a feeling of clinging tenderness, blended 
with earnest, undying gratitude. She knew 
that he understood her character and appre- 
ciated her struggles, and it soothed her fierce, 
proud heart, in some degree, to receive from 
him those tokens of constant remembrance 
which she so yearned to have from Russell. 
She felt, too, that she was not regarded as a 
stranger by the artist ; she could see his sad 
eyes brighten at her .entrance, and detect the 
tremor in his hand and voice when he spoke 
of going home. His health had improved, and 
the heat of summer had come ; why did he 
linger ? His evenings were often spent at the 
cott.ige, and even Mrs. Aubrey learned to 
smile at the sound of his step. 

One morning, as Eleetra finished her lesson 
and rose to go, he said slowly, as if watching 
the effect of his words : 

" This is the last hour I can give you. In 
two days I return to New York. Letters of 
importance came this morning ; I have waited 
here too long already." 

" Are you in earnest this time ?" 

"I am ; it is absolutely necessary that I 
should return home." 

" Mr. Clifton, what shall I do without you ?" 

" Suppose you had never seen me V" 

" Then I should not have had to lose you. 
Oh, sir ! I need you very much." 

" Eleetra, child, you will conquer your diffi- 
culties without assistance from any one. You 
have nothing to fear." 

" Yes, I know I shall conquer at last, but 
the way would be so much easier if you were 
only with me. I shall miss you more than I 
can tell you." 

He passed his hand over her short shining 
hair, and mused for a moment as if laying 
conflicting emotions in the balance. She heard 
his deep, labored breathing, and saw the 
working of the muscles in his pale face ; when 
he spoke, his voice was husky : 

" You are right ; you need me, and I want 
you always with me ; we must not be parted. 
Eleetra, 1 say we shall not. Come to me, put 
your hands in mine — promise me that you will 
be my child, my pupil; I will take you to my 
mother, and we need never be separated. 
You require aid, such as can not be had here ; 
in New York you shall have all that you want. 
"Will you come with me ?" 

He held her hands in a vice-like grasp, and 
looked pleadingly into her astonished counte- 
nance. A mist gathered before her, and she 
closed her eyes. 



" Eleetra, will you come ?" 

" Give me ten minutes to think," she an- 
swered shiveringly. He turned away and 
walked up and down the floor, taking care to 
conceal his face. She sat down before a table 
and dropped her forehead in her palms. What 
slight things often shape human destiny ; how 
little people realize the consequences of seem- 
ingly trivial words, looks, or actions,! The 
day before Eleetra would unhesitatingly have 
declined this proposition : but only that morn- 
ing, as she passed Russell's door before break- 
fas^, she saw him with Irene's farewell note in 
his hand ; saw him press his lips hastily to the 
signature. Her jealous heart was on fire ; the 
consciousness of his love for another rendered 
her reckless and indescribably miserable. In 
this mood she reflected : Mr. Clifton seemed 
to have become warmly attached to her, and 
could help her to attain the eminence she had 
in view ; she was poor, why not accept his 
generous offer ? Russell would not miss her — 
would not care whether she left hmi or re- 
mained. If she were far away, at least she 
would not be tormented by his coldness and 
indifference. The future (barring her ambi- 
tious dreams) was dim, joyless ; she had to 
earn a support, she scorned to be dependent 
on her cousin, fame lured her on. Yes, she 
would go. Mr. Clifton took out his watch and 
paused beside her : 

" Ten minutes have passed ; Eleetra, will 
you come V" 

She raised her bloodless face, stamped with 
stern resolve, and ere the words were pro- 
nounced he read his answer in the defiant 
gleam of her eyes, in the hard, curved lines of 
the mouth. 

" Mr. Clifton, I can not go with you just 
now, for at present I can not, ought not, to 
leave my aunt. Helpless as she is, it would 
be cruel, ungrateful, to desert her ; but things 
can not continue this way much longer, and I 
promise you that as soon as I can 1 will go to 
you. I want to be with you ; I want some- 
body to care for me, and I know you will be a 
kind friend always. Most gratefully will I 
accept your generous otter so soon as I fee! 
that I can do so." 

He stooped and touched her forehead with 
his lips. 

' ; My dear Eleetra, I will shield you from 
trials and difficulties ; I will prize you above 
everything on earth ; 1 know you are making 
a great sacrifice to be with me ; I know how 
hard it is for you to leave home and relatives. 
But, my child, your aunt has only a short 
time to live ; she is failing very fast, and your 
duty to her will not keep you here long. You 
are right to remain with her, but when she 
needs you no more I shall expect you to come 
to me in New York. Meantime, i shall write 
to you frequently, and supply you with such 
books and materials as you require. My 
pupil, I long to have you in my own home. 



32 



MACARIA. 



Remember, no matter what happens, you have 
promised yourself to me." 

" I shall not forget ;" but he saw her shud- 
der. 

" Shall I speak to your aunt about this 
matter before I go ?" 

" No, it would only distress he/ ; leave it all 
with me. It is late, and I must go. Good-by T 
sir." 

He promised to see her again before his de- 
parture, and she walked home with her head 
bowed and a sharp continual pain gnawing at 
her heart. 

In the calm, peaceful years of ordinary 
childhood the soul matures slowly ; but a vol- 
canic nature like Electra's, subjected to galling 
trials, rapidly hardens, and answers every 
stroke with the metallic ring of age. Keen 
susceptibility to joy or pain taught her early 
what less impressive characters are years in 
learning, and it was lamentably true that, 
while yet a mere girl, she suffered as acutely 
as a woman. The battle of life must be 
fou«ht, and if one begins skirmishing in the 
cradle tactics are soon learned and the conflict 
ends more speedily. But Eleetra had also 
conned another lesson : to lock her troubles in 
her own heart, voicing no complaint, and when 
she sought her aunt, and read aloud the favor- 
ite chapters in the Bible, or led her up and 
down the garden-walk, talking of various 
things, telling of the .growth of pet plants, 
there was no indication whatever of any un- 
usual strife or extraordinary occurrence. Rus- 
sell knew that a change bad come over his 
cousin, but was too constantly engaged, too 
entirely absorbed by his studies, to ask or 
analyze the cause. She never watched at the 
gate for him now, never sprang with out- 
stretched arms to meet him, never hung over 
the back of his chair and caressed his hands as 
formerly. When not waiting upon her aunt 
she was as intent on her books as he, and, 
though invariably kind and unselfish in her 
conduct toward him, she was evidently con- 
strained in his presence. As the summer wore 
on Mrs. Aubrey's health failed rapidly, and she 
was confined to her couch. There, in a low 
chair close to the pillow, sat Eleetra reading, 
talking, exerting herself to the utmost to cheer 
the widow. She filled the thin fingers with 
dewy roses, and expatiated on the glories of 
the outer world, while the thoughts of the in- 
valid wandered to the approaching shores of 
another realm, and she thanked God that, 
though thick iolds of darkness shrouded earth, 
the veil dropped from her soul and the spirit- 
ual vision grew clear and piercing. If faith 
and resignation could be taught like music or 
arithmetic, then had Eleetra learned the 
grandest truths ot Christianity ; but it is a 
mournful fact that the bloody seal of Experi- 
ence must stamp the lesson ere deep thinkers 
or strong natures receive it, and as she watched 
that precious life fade, like the purple light of 



summer in evening skies, the only feeling sne 
knew was that of grief for the impending loss 
—undefined apprehension of coming isolation. 
If Mrs. Aubrey could have seen the counte- 
nance which bent over her pillow, her serene 
soul would have been painfully disturbed. 
She felt hot tears fall on her hands and cheeks, 
and knew that the lips which pressed hers of- 
ten trembled ; but this seemed natural enough 
under the circumstances, and she sank quietly 
down to the edge of the tomb ignorant of the 
sorrows that racked the girl's heart. One 
morning when Mr. Campbell, the pastor, had 
spent some time in the sick-room praying with 
the sufferer, and administering the sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper, Eleetra followed h'im to 
the door, leaving Russell with his mother. The 
gentle pastor took her hand kindly, and looked 
at her with filling eyes. 

" You think my aunt is worse ?" 

" Yes, my child. I think that very soon she 
will be. with her God. She will scarcely sur- 
vive till night—" 

She turned abruptly from him, and threw 
herself down across the foot of the bed, bury- 
ing her face in her arms. Russell sat with his 
mother's hands in his, while she turned her 
brown eyes toward him and exhorted him to 
commit himself and his future to the hands of 
a merciful God. She told him how the prom- 
ises of the Saviour had supported and cheered 
her in times of great need, and implored him 
to dedicate his energies, his talents, his life, to 
the service of his Maker. Eleetra was not 
forgotten ; she advised her to go to a cousin of 
her mother residing in Virginia. Long before 
she had written to this lady, informing her of 
her own feebleness and of the girl's helpless 
condition ; and a kind answer had been re- 
turned, cordially inviting the orphan to share 
■faer home, to become an inmate of her house. 
Russell could take her *o these relatives as 
soon as possible. To all this no reply was 
made, and, a few moments later, when Russell 
kissed her tenderly and raised her pillow, she 
said faintly — 

" If I could look upon your face once more, 
my son, it would not be hard to die. Let me 
see you in heaven, my dear, dear boy." These 
were the last words, and soon after a stupor 
fell upon her; Hour after hour passed ; Mrs. 
Campbell came and sat beside the bed, and 
the tiiree remained silent, now and then lift- 
ing bowed heads to look at the sleeper. Not 
a sound broke the stillness save the occasional 
chirp of a cricket, and a shy mouse_ crept 
twice across the floor, wondering at the silence, 
fixing its twinkling bright eyes on the motion- 
less figures. The autumn day died slowly as 
the widow, and when the clock dirged out the 
sunset hour Russell rose, and, putting back 
the window-curtains, stooped and laid his face 
close to his mother's. Life is at best a strug- 
gle, and such perfect repose as greeted him is 
i found only when the marble hands of Death 



MACARIA. 



33 



transfer the soul to its guardian angel. No 
puliation stirred the folds over the heart, or 
the soft bands of hair on the blue- veined tem- 
ples ; the still mouth had breathed its last sigh, 
and the meek brown eyes had opened in 
Eternity. The long, fierce ordeal had ended, 
the flames died out, and from smouldering 
ashes the purified spirit that had toiled and 
fainted not, that had been faithful to the end, 
patiently bearing many crosses, heard the voice 
of the Great Shepherd, and soared joyfully to 
the pearly gates of the Everlasting Home. 
The day bore her away on its wings, and as 
Russell touched the icy chee'k a despairing cry 
rolled through the silent cottage — 
"Oh, Mother ! my own precious dead mother !" 
Falling on his knees, he laid his head on 
her pillow, and when kind friendly hands bore 
her into the adjoining room, he knelt there 
still, unconscious of what passed, knowing 
only that the keenest of many blows had fall- 
en, that the last and bitterest vial of sorrows 
had been emptied. 

Night folded her. starry curtains around the 
earth ; darkness settled on river and hill and 
valley. It was late September ; autumn winds 
rose, eager for their work of death, and rushed 
rudely through the forests, shaking the sturdy 
primeval monarchs in token of their mission 
and mastery, and shivering leaves rustled 
down before them, drifting into tiny grave- 
like hillocks. Gradually the stars caught the 
contagious gloom, and shrank behind the cloud- 
skirts sweeping the cold sky. It was a sol- 
emn, melancholy night, full of dreary phan- 
toms, presaging a dark, dismal morrow. Amy 
Aubrey's still form reposed on the draped 
table in the kitchen, and the fitful candle-light 
showed only a dim, rigid outline of white linen. 
Mr. Campbell and his wife sat together, in the 
next room, and the two young mourners were 
left in the silence of the kitchen. Russell sat 
at the open window, near the table; his head 
leaned on his hand, tearless, mute, still as his 
mother. At the opposite window stood Elee- 
tra, pressing her face against the frame, look- 
ing out into the moaning, struggling night, 
Striving to read the mystic characters dimly 
traced on the ash-gray hurrying clouds as the 
reckless winds parted their wan folds. The 
stony face of her merciless destiny seemed to 
frown down at her cold, grim, Sphinx-like. 
Hitherto she had walked with loved ones ; 
now a vast sepulchre yawned to receive them ; 
a tomb of clay for the quiet sleeper, one of 
perhaps final separation for Russell, and over 
this last hideous chasm Hoj>e hovered with 
drooping wings. To leave him was like inurn- 
ing her heart and all the joy she had ever 
known ; and then, to crown her agony, a 
thousand Furies hissed " Irene will come back, 
and loving her he will forget that you toil 
among strangers." 

She crushed her fiDgers against each other 
and stifled a groan, while the chilling voice of 

u 



Destiny added, " Trample out this weakness ; 
your path and his here separate widely ; you 
are nothing to him, go to work earnestly, and 
cease repining." She shrank away from the 
window and approached her cousin. For two 
hours he bad not changed his position — as far 
as she knew, had not moved a milscle. She 
sat down at his feet and crossed- her arms over 
his knees ; he took no notice of her. 

" Oh, Russell ! say something to me, or I 
shall, die." 

It was the last wail she ever suffered to es- 
cape her in his presence. He raised his head 
and put his hand on her forehead, but the 
trembling lips refused their office, and as she 
looked up at him tears rolled slowly down and 
fell on her cheek. She would have given 
worlds to mingle her tears with his, but no 
moisture came to her burning eyes ; and there 
these two, so soon to separate, passed the re- 
maining hours of that long, wretched night of 
watching. The stormy day lifted ,her pale, 
mournful face at last, and with it came the 
dreary patter and sobbing of autumn rain, 
making it doubly harrowing to commit the 
precious for>ji to its long, last resting-place. 
Electra stood up beside her cousin and folded 
her arms together. 

" Russell, I am not going to that cousin in 
Virginia. I could owe my bread and clothes 
to you, but not to her. She has children, and 
1 do not intend to live on her charity. I know 
you and I must part; the sooner the better. I 
would not be willing to "burden you a day 
longer. I am going to fit myself to work prof- 
itably. Mr. Clifton offered me a home in his 
house, said his mother was lonely, and would 
be rejoiced to have me ; that letter which I 
received last week contained one from her, 
also urging me to come ; and, Russell, I am 
going to New York to study with him as long 
as I need instruction. I did not tell aunt, of 
this, because I knew it would grieve her to 
think that I would be thrown with strangers ; 
and having fully determined to take this step, 
thought it best not to distress her by any al- 
lusion to it. You know it is my own affair, 
and I can decide it better than any one else." 

His eyes were fixed on the shrouded table, 
and he answered without looking at her : 

" No, Electra, you must .go to Mrs. Harden ; 
'she seems anxious to have you ; and as for be- 
ing dependent on charity, you never shall be, 
so long as I live. You will merely reside un- 
der her roof, and shall not cost her a cent ; 
leave this with me." 

" I can not leave it with anybody ; I must 
depend upon myself. I have thought a great 
deal about it, and my resolution is not to be 
shaken. You have been very kind to me, 
Russell, all my life ; and only God knows how 
I love and thank you. But* I will not accept 
your hard earnings in future ; I should be mis- 
erable unless at work, and I tell you I must 
and will go to Mr. Clifton." 



34 



MACARIA. 



He looked at her now, surprised and pained. 

" What is the matter with you, Electra ? 

Have I not sorrows enough, tbat you must try 

to add another by your obstinacy? What 

would she, think of you ?" 

He rose, and laid his hand on the pure, 
smooth brow of the dead. 

" There is nothing new th*e matter with me. 
I have determined to go; nobody has any right 
to control me, and it is worse than useless for 
you to oppose me. We have but little time to 
spend together ; do not let us quarrel here in 
her presence. Let there be peace between us 
in these last hours. Oh, Russell ! it is hard 
enough to part, even in love and kindness ; do 
not add painful contention." 

" So you prefer utter strangers to your rela- 
tives and friends ?" 

" Ties of blood are not the strongest ; stran- 
gers step in to aid where relatives sometimes 
stand aloof and watch a fatal struggle. Re- 
member Irene ; who is nearer to you, she or 
your grandfather ? Such a friend Mr. Clifton 
is to me, and go to him I will at all hazards. 
Drop the subject, if you please." 

He looked at her an instant, then turned 
once more to his mother's face, and his cousin 
left them together. 

The day was so incle;nent that only Mr. and 
Mrs. Campbell and Russell's employer attend- 
ed the funeral. These few followed the gentle 
sleeper, and laid her down to rest till the star 
of Eternity dawns ; and the storm chanted a 
long, thrilling requiem as the wet mound rose 
above the coffin. 

Back to a deserted home, whence the crown 
of joy has been borne. What a hideous rack 
stands at the hearth-stone whereon merciless 
Memory stretches the bereaved ones! In 
hours such as this we cry out fiercely, " The 
sun of our life has gone down in starless, ever- 
lasting night ; earth has no more glory, no 
more bloom or fragrance for us ; the voices of 
gleeful children, the carol of summer birds, 
take the mournful measure of a dirge. We 
hug this great grief to our hearts; we hold our 
darling dead continually before us, and refuse 
to be glad again." We forget that Prome- 
theus has passed from the world. Time bears 
precious healing on its broad pinions ; folds its 
arms compassionately about us as a pitying 
father ; softly binds up the jagged wounds, 
drugs memory, and though the poisonous sting 
is occasionally thrust forth, she soon relapses 
into stupor. So, in the infinite mercy of our 
God, close at the heels of Azrael follow the 
winged hours laden, like Sisters of Charity, 
with balm for the people. 

The kind-hearted pastor and his wife urg<§d 
the orphans to remove to their house for a few 
days at least, until the future could be map- 
ped ; but they preferred to meet and battle at 
Once with the spectre which they knew stood 
waiting in the desolate cottage. At' midnight 
a heavy sleep fell on Russell, who had thrown 



himself upon his mother's couch ; and, softly 
spreading a shawl over him, Electra sat down 
by the dying fire on the kitchen-hearth and 
looked her future in the face. A few days 
sufficed to prepare for her journey; and agen- 
thman from New York, who had met her 
cousin in Mr. Campbell's office, consented to 
take charge of her and commit her to Mr. 
Clifton's hands. The scanty furniture was 
sent to an auction-room, and a piece of board 
nailed to the gate-post announced that the 
cottage was for rent. Russell decided to take 
his meals at a boarding-house, and occupy a 
small room over the office, which Mr. Camp- 
bell had placed at his disposal. On the same 
day the cousins bade adieu to the only spot 
they had called " home " for many years, and 
as Russell locked the door and joined Electra 
his mekncholy face expressed, far better than 
words could have done, the pain it cost him to 
quit the house where his idolized mother had 
lived, suffered, and died. Mr. Colton was 
waiting for Electra at the hotel, whither the 
stage had been driven for passengers ; and as 
she drew near and saw her trunk among others 
piled on top, she stopped and grasped Russell's 
hand between both hers. A livid paleness 
settled on her face, while her wild black eyes 
fastened on his features. She might never 
see him again ; he was far dearer to her than 
her life ; how could she bear to leave him, to 
put hundreds of miles between that face and 
her awn ? An icy hand clutched her heart as 
she gazed into his deep, sad, beautiful eyes. 
His feeling for her was a steady, serene affec- 
tion, such as brothers have for dear young sis- 
ters, and to give her up now filled him with 
genuine, earnest sorrow. 

" Electra, it is very hard to tell you good- 
by. You are all "I have left, and 1 shall be 
desolate indeed when you are away. But 
the separation will not be long, I trust ; in a 
few years we shall be able to have another 
home; and where my home is, yours must 
always be. Toil stretches before me like a 
sandy desert, but I shall cross it safely ; and 
then, Electra, my dear cousin, we shall be 
parted no more. I should feel far better sat- 
isfied if you were with Mrs. Harden, but you 
determined otherwise, and, as you told me a 
few days ago, I have no right to control you. 
Write to me often, ancl believe that I shall do 
all that a brother could for you. Mr. Colton ■ 
is waiting ; good-by, darling." 

He bent down to kiss her, and the strained, 
tortured look that greeted him he never for- 
got. She put her arms around his neck, and 
clung to him like a shivering weed driven by 
rough winds against a stone wall. He re- 
moved her clasping arms, and led her to Mr. 
Colton ; but as the latter offered to assist her 
into the stage she drew back, that Russell 
might perform that office. While he almost 
lifted her to a seat, her fingers refused to 
release his, and he was forced to disengage 



MACARIA. 



3& 



them. Other passengers entered, and the door 
was closed. Russell stood near the window, 
and said gently, pitying her suffering: 

" Electra, won't you say good-by V" 

She leaned out till her cheek touched his, 
and in a hoarse tone uttered the fluttering 
words : 

" Oh, Russell ! Russell ! good-by ! May God 
have mercy on me !" 

And the 'stage rolled swiftly on ; men laugh- 
ed, talked, and smoked ; an October sun filled 
the sky with glory, and gilded the trees on the 
road-side ; flame-colored leaves flashed in the 
air as the wind tossed them before it; the deep, 
continual thunder of the foaming falls rose 
soothingly from the river banks, and a wretch- 
ed human thing pressed her bloodless face 
against the morocco lininer of the coach and 
stared down; mute and tearless, into the wide 
grave of her all — 

" Fresh as the first beam glittering; on a sail. 
That brings our friends up from the under world ;. 
Sad as the last which reddens over one * 
That sinks with all we love below the verge, 
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more," 



CHAPTER VII. 

As tall tyrannous weeds and rank unshorn 
grass close over and crush out slender, pure, 
odorous flowerets on a hill-side, so the defects 
of Irene's character swiftly strengthened and 
developed in the new atmosphere in which 
she found herself. All the fostering stimulus 
of a hot-bed seemed applied to them, and her 
nobler impulses were in imminent danger of 
being entirely subdued. Diogenes Teufels- 
drbckh's " Crim Tartary Enclosure of a High 
Seminary " is but the prototype of hundreds, 
scattered up and down through Christendom; 
and the associations which surrounded Irene 
were well calculated to destroy the native 
purity and unselfishness of her nature. The 
school was on an extensive scale, thoroughly 
fashionable, and thither pupils were sent from 
every section of the United States. As re- 
garded educational advantages, the institution 
was unexceptionable ; the professors were con- 
sidered unsurpassed in their several depart- 
ments, and every provision was made for 
thorough tuition. But what a Babel reigned 
outside of the recitation-room. One hundred 
and forty girls to spend their recesses in envy, 
ridicule, malice, and detraction. The homely 
squad banded in implacable hatred against 
those whom nature had cast in moulds of 
beauty ; the indolent and obtuse ever on the 
alert to decry the successful efforts of their 
superiors; the simply-ojad children of parents 
in straitened circumstances' feeding their 
discontent by gazing with undisguised envy 
at the richly-apparelled darlings of fortune ; 
and the favored ones sneering at these unfort- 
unates, pluming themselves on wealth, beauty, 



intellect, as the case might be — growing more 
arrogant and insufferable day by day. A 
wretched climate this for a fresh, untainted 
soul ; . and it is surprising how really fond 
parents, anxious to promote the improvement 
of their daughters in every respect, hasten to 
place them where poisonous vapors wreathe 
and curl about them. The principals of such 
institutions are doubtless often conscientious," 
and strive to discharge their duty faithfully ; 
but the evils of human nature are obstinate, 
difficult to subdue under even the most favor- 
able auspices ; and where such a mass of un- 
trained souls are turned into an enclosure, to 
amuse themselves at one another's expense, 
mischief is sure to follow. Anxious to shake 
off the loneliness which so heavily oppcessed 
her, Irene at first mingled freely among her 
companions ; but she soon becain% disgusted 
with the conduct and opinions of the majority, 
and endeavored to find quiet in her own room. 
Maria Ashley, who shared the apartment, was 
the spoiled child of a Louisiana planter, and 
her views of life and duty were too utterly 
antagonistic to Irene's to allow of any pleasure 
in each other's society. To cheat the profes- 
sors by ingenious stratagems, and to out-dress 
her companions, seemed the sum total of the 
girl's aspirations ; and gradually, in lieu of the 
indifference she evinced toward her room- 
mate, a positive hatred made itself apparent 
in numberless trifles. Feeling her own supe- 
riority, Irene held herself more and more 
aloof; her self-complacency grew amazingly, 
the graceful figure took a haughty, unbending 
posture, and a coldly contemptuous smile 
throned itself on her lip. The inevitable con- 
sequence was, that she became a target for 
the school. Thus the months cuept away ; her 
father wrote rarely, and Miss Margaret's let- 
ters contained no allusion to the family that 
had caused her banishment. Finally she 
wrote' to Dr. Arnold, inquiring concerning 
Mrs. Aubrey, but no reply reached her. Early 
in winter a new pupil, a " day scholar," joined 
her class; she resided in New York, and very 
soon a strong friendship sprang up between 
them. Louisa Young was about Irene's ao-e, 
very pretty, very gentle and winning in her 
manners. She was the daughter of.an affluent 
merchant, and was blessed in the possession of 
parents who strove, to rear their children as 
Christian parents should. Louisa's attach- 
ments were very warm and lasting, and ere 
long she insisted that her friend should visit 
her. Weary of the school, the latter gladly 
availed herself of the invitation, and one Fri- 
day afternoon she accompanied Louisa home. 
The mansion was almost palatial, and as Irene 
entered the splendidly-furnished parlors her 
own Southern home rose vividly before her. 
" Mother, this is Miss Huntingdon." 
Mrs. Young received her cordially, and as 
she held the gloved hand, and kindly express- 
ed he* pleasure at meeting her daughter's 



86 



MACAEIA. 



friend, the girl's heart' gave a quick bound of 

" Come up stairs and put away your bon- 
net." 

In Louisa's beautiful room the two sat talk- 
ing of various things till the tea-bell rang. 
Mr. Young's greeting was scarcely less friendly 
fhan his wife's, and as they seated themselves 
at the table the stranger felt at home for the 
first time in New York. 

" Where is Brother ?" asked Louisa, glancing 
at the vacant seat opposite her own. 

" He has not come home yet ; I wonder what 
keeps him ? There he is now, in the hall," 
answered the mother. 

A moment after he entered and took his 
seat. He was tall, rather handsome, and look- 
ed about thirty. His sister presented her 
friend, ami with a hasty bow he fastened his 
eyes on her face. Probably he was uncon- 
scious of the steadiness of his gaze, but Irene 
became restless under his fixed, earnest eye,. 
and, perceiving her embarrassment, Mrs. 
Young said — 

" Harvey, where have you been ? Dr. Mel- 
ville called here for you at four o'clock ; said 
you had made some engagement with him." 

" Yes, Mother ; we have been visiting to- 
gether this afternoon." 

Withdrawing his eyes, he seemed to fall 
into a reverie, and took no part in the conver- 
sation that ensued. As the party adjourned 
to the sitting-room he paused on the rug and 
leaned his elbow on the mantled Louisa lin- 
gered, and drew near. He passed his arm 
around her shoulders ami looked affectionately 
down at her. 
" Well, what.is it ?" 

" Come into the sitting-room and help me 
entertain Irene, instead of going off to your 
stupid study ; do, Harvey." 

"A very reasonable request, truly! I must 
quit my work to talk to one of your school- 
mates ; nonsense ! How old is she ?" 
" Fifteen. Is not she a beauty ?" 
" Yes." 

" Oh, Harvey ! you are so cold ! I thought 
you would admire Irene prodigiously ; and 
now you say 'yes' just exactly as if I had 
asked you whether it was snowing out of 
doors." 

" Which is certainly the fact ; the first 
flakes fell as I reached home." 

He stepped to the window and looked out, 
saying carelessly — 

" Go to your friend, and when you are at a 
loss for conversation, bring her to my study to 
see those sketches of Palmyra and Baalbec." 
He passed on to his work and she to the 
sitting-room. The study was simply the 
library, handsomely fitted up with choice old 
books in richly-carved rosewood cases, and 
antique busts peering down from the tops of 
each. Crimson damask curtains swept from 
the ceilirig to the carpet, and a luxurious arm- 



chair sat before the glowing coal-fire. The 
table was covered with books and loose sheets 
of paper were scattered around, as if the oc- 
cupant had been suddenly called from _ his 
labor. The gas burned brightly ; all things 
beckoned back to work. He sat down, 
glanced over tlie half-written sheets, numbered 
the pages, laid them away in the drawer, and 
opened a volume of St. Chrysostom. As the 
light fell on his countenance it was very 
apparent that he had been a student for years; 
that his mind was habituated to patient, labo- 
rious investigation. Gravity, utterly free from 
sorrow or sternness, marked hisface ; he might 
have passed all his days in that quiet room, 
for any impress which the cares or joys of out- 
door life had left on his features ; a strong, clear 
intellect; a lofty, earnest soul ; a calm, unruffled 
heart, that knew not half its own unsounded 
abysses. He read industriously for some time, 
occasionally pausing to annotate ; and once 
qr twice he raised his head and listened, fan- 
cying footsteps in the'hall. Finally he pushed 
the book away, took a turn across the floor, 
and resumed his seat. He could not rivet his 
attention on St. Chrysostom, and, folding his 
arms over his chest, he studied the red coals 
instead. Soon after, unmistakable steps fell 
on his ear, and a light tap at the door was 
followed by the entrance .of the two girls. 
Irene came very reluctantly, fearful of intrud- 
ing ; but. he rose, and placed a chair for her 
close to his own, assuring her that he Was glad 
to see her there. Louisa found the portfolio, 
and, bringing it to the table, began to exhibit 
its treasures. The two leaned over it, and as 
Irene sat resting her cheek on her hand, the 
beauty of her face and figure was clearly re- 
vealed. Harvey remained silent, watching 
the changing expression of the visitor's coun- 
tenance ; and once he put out his hand to 
touch the hair floating over the back and arms 
of her chair. Gradually his still heart stirred, 
his brow flushed, and a new light burned in the 
deep clear eyes. 

" Louisa, where did you get these ?" 
" Brother brought them home when he came 
from the East." 

Irene lifted her eyes to his and said : 
" Did you visit all these places 'I Did you 
go to that crumbling Temple of the Sun ?" 

He told her of his visit to the Old World, of 
its mournful ruins, its decaying glories : of the 
lessons he learned there ; the sad but precious 
memories he brought back ; and as he talked 
time passed unheeded — she forgot her embar- 
rassment ; they were strangers no longer. The 
clock struck ten ; Louisa rose at once. 

" Thank you, Harvey, for giving us so much 
of your time. Father and Mother will be 
waiting for you." 

" Yes, I will join you at once." 
She led the way back to the sitting-room, 
and a few moments afterward, to Irene's great 
surprise, the student came in, and sitting 



MACARIA. 



37 



down before the table, opened the Bible and 
read a chapter. Then all knelt and he pray- 
ed. There was a strange spell on the visitor ; 
in all this there was something so unexpected. 
It was the first time she had ever knelt around 
the family altar, and, as she rose, that sit- 
ting-room seemed suddenly converted into a 
temple of worship. Mutual " good-nights " 
were exchanged, and as Irene turned toward 
the young minister he held out his hand. 
She gave him hers, and he pressed it gently, 
saying : 

" I trust this is the first of many pleasant 
evening^ which we shall spend together." 

" Thank you, sir. I hope so too, for I have" 
not been as happy since I left home." 

He smiled, and she walked on. His mother 
looked up as the door closed behind her, and 
exclaimed : » 

" What a wonderfully beautiful face she 
has! Louisa. often rhapsodized about her, and 
now. I am not at all surprised at her enthu- 
siasm." 

" Yes, such perfection of features as hers is 
seen but once in a lifetime. I have travelled 
over the greater part of the world ; I have 
looked upon all types of beauty, from the An- 
dalusians whom Murillo immortalized, to the 
far-famed Circassians of Kabarda, but never 
before have I found such a marvel of loveli- 
ness as that girl. In Venice I spent a morn- 
ing studying one of Titian's faces, which some- 
what resembles hers ; there is an approxima- 
tion to the same golden hair — forming a nim- 
bus, as it were — the same contour of features, 
but Titian's picture lacked her pure, un- 
searchable, indescribable eyes. Have you 
noticed what a rare, anomalous color her hair 
is ? There never was but one other head 
like it ; the threads of fine gold in that cele- 
brated lock of her own hair which Lucretia 
Borgia gave Cardinal Bembo, match Irene 
Huntingdon's exactly. Well and truly has it 
been said of that glittering relic in the .Arn- 
brozian Library, ' If ever hair was golden, it is 
this of Lucretia Borgia's ; it is not red, it is 
not yellow, it is not auburn ; it is golden, and 
nothing' else.' I examined it curiously, and 
wondered whether the world tould furnish 
a parallel; consequently, when that girl's head 
flashed before me I was startled. Stranger j 
still than her beauty is the. fact that it has not 
spoiled her thus far." 

He folded his arms over his chest as if crush- 
ing out something. 

His mother laughed. 

" Why, Harvey ! What a riddle you are. 
Take care, my son ; that child would pever do 
for a minister's wife." 

" Of course not ; who, ever dreamed that 
she would ? Good-night, Mother ; I shall not 
be at home to breakfast ; do not wait for me ; 
I am going to Long Island with Dr. Melville." 

He bent down to receive her customary 
kiss, and went to his own room. 



" Louisa, how came your brother to be a 
minister?" asked Irene, when they had 
reached their apartment. 

" When he was a boy he said he intended 
to preach, and father never dissuaded him. I 
was quite young when he went to the East, 
and since his return he has been so engrossed 
by his theological studies that we are rarely 
together. Harvey is a singular man — so silent, 
so equable, so cold in his manner, and yet he 
has a warm heart. He has declined two calls 
since his ordination; Dr. Melville's health is 
very poor, and Harvey frequently fills his pul- 
pit. Sometimes he talks of going West, where 
ministers are scarce ; thinks he could do more 
good there, but mother will not consent for 
him to leave us. $ am afraid, though, he will 
go— he .is so determined when he once makes 
up his mind. He is a dear, good brother ; I 
know you will like him when you know him 
well ; everybody loves Harvey." 

The inclemency of the weather confined the 
girls to the house the following day. Harvey 
was absent, at breakfast, and at dinner the 
chair opposite Irene's was still vacant. The 
afternoon wore away, and at dusk Louisa 
opened the piano and began to play Thal- 
berg's " Home, sweet home." Irene sat- on a 
sofa near the window, and as she listened 
visions of the South rose before her, till she 
realized — 

" That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier 
things." . 

She longed inexpressibly for her own home, 
for her father, for the suffering friends of the 
cottage, and, as she thought of his many trials, 
Hussell's image was more distinct than all. 
She closed her eyes, and felt again his tight 
clasp of her hands ; his passionate, pleading 
words sounded once more, " Oh, Irene ! be- 
lieve in me ! believe in me always I" It seem- 
ed to her so unnatural, so cruel that they 
should be separated. Then came the memory 
of Mrs. Aubrey's words of counsel : " Pray 
constantly ; keep yourself unspotted from the 
world." What would the blind woman think 
if she knew all the proud, scornful, harsh feel- 
ings which were now in her heart ? A sensa- 
tion of deep contrition and humiliation came 
upon her ; she knew she was fast losing the 
best impulses of her nature, and experienced 
keen regret that she had yielded to the evil 
associations and temptations of the school. 
How could she hope to grow better under such 
circumstances ? What would become of her ? 
The snow drifted against the panes, making 
fairy fretwork, and through the feathery 
flakes the gas-light at the corner burned stead- 
ily on. " So ought the light of conscience to 
burn,"- thought she; "so ought I to do my 
duty, no matter how I am situated. That 
light is all the more necessary because it is 
stormy and dark." 

Somebody took a seat near her, and, though 



38 



MACARIA. 



tbe room was dim, she knew the tall form and 
the touch of his hand. 

" Good-evening, Miss Irene ; we have had 
a gloomy day. How have you and Louisa 
spent it ?" 

" Not very profitably I dare say, though it has 
not appeared at all gloomy to me. Have you 
been out in the snow ?" 

" Yes ; my work has been sad. I buried a 
mother and child this afternoon, and have just 
come from a house of orphanage and grief. It 
is a difficult matter to realize how many ach- 
ing hearts there are in this great city. Our 
mahogany doors shut out the wail that hourly 
goes up to God from the thousand sufferers in 
our midst." 

Just then a servant lighted the chandelier, 
and she saw that he looked graver than ever. 
Louisa came up and put her arms around his 
neck, but he did not return the caress ; said a 
few kind words, and rising, slowly paced the 
floor. As his eye fell on the piano he paused, 
saying, " Come, Louisa, sing that song for 
me." < 

She sat down and began, " Comfort ye my 
people ;" and gradually the sadness melted 
from his features. As Irene listened to the 
solemn strains she found it difficult to control 
her feelings, and by degrees her head sank 
until it touched the arm of the sofa. The 
minister watched the effect of the music, and, 
resuming his seat, said gently : 

" It is genuine philosophy to extract, com- 
fort and aid from every possible source. There 
is a vast amount of strength needed to combat 
the evils and trials which necessarily occur in 
even the sunniest, happiest lives; and I find 
that sometimes I derive far more from a song 
than a lengthy sermon. We are curious bits 
of mechanism, and frequently music effects 
what learned disputation or earnest exhorta- 
tion could not accomplish. I remember once, 
when I was a child, I had given my mother a 
great deal of trouble by my obstinacy. She 
had entreated me, reasoned with me, and 
finally punished me, but all to no purpose; 
my wickedness had not been conquered. I 
was bitter and rebellious,. and continued so all 
day. That evening she sat down to the piano 
and sang a hymn for my father. The instant 
the strains fell on my ear I felt softened, crept 
down stairs to the parlor-door, and before she 
had finished was crying heartily, begging her 
forgiveness. When a sublime air is made the 
vehicle of a noble sentiment there is no com- 
puting the amount of good it accomplishes, if 
properly directed. During my visit to Lon- 
don I went to hear a very celebrated divine. 
I had just lost a dear friend, the companion 
who travelled with me to Jerusalem and Me- 
roe, and I went to church full of sorrow. The 
sermon was able, but had no more effect in 
comforting me than if I had not listened to it. 
He preached from that text of Job treating 
of the resurrection, and at the conclusion the 



very fjords of his text, ' I know that my Re- 
deemer liveth,' were sung by the choir. When 
the organ rolled its solemn tones under the 
dim arched roof, and I heard the voices of the 
choir swelling deep and full— 

i. • Throb through the ribbed stone,' 

then, and not till then, I appreciated the 
n-rand words to which I had listened. The 
organ spoke to my soul as man could not, and 
I left the church calmed and comforted. All 
things are capable of yielding benefit, if prop- 
erly applied, though it is a lamentable truth 
that gross abuse has involved many possible 
sources of good in disrepute ; and it is our 
duty to extract elevating influences from all 
departments. Such an alchemy is especially 
the privilege of a Christian." 

As he talked she lifted her beautiful eyes 
and looked steadily at him, and he thought 
that, of all the lovely things he had ever seen, 
that face was the most peerless. She drew 
closer to him, and said earnestly : 

" Then you ought to be happy, Mr. Young." 

" That implies a doubt that I am." 

" You do not seem to me a very happy 
man." 

" There you mistake me. I presume .there 
are few happier persons." 

" Countenance is not a faithful index, then ; 
you look so exceedingly grave." 

" Do you suppose that gravity of face is in- 
compatible with sunshine in the heart ?" 

" I think it reasonable that the sunshine 
should sparkle in the eyes and gleam over the 
features. But, sir, I should like, if you please, 
to talk to you a little about other things. May 
I ?" 

"Certainly; speak on, and speak freely; 
you may trust me, I think." 

He smiled encouragingly as he spoke, and 
without a moment's thought she laid her deli- 
cate hand in his. 

" Mr. Young, I want somebody to advise 
me. Very often I am at a loss about my dut) , 
and, having no one to consult, either do noth- 
ing at all, or that which I should not. If it 
will not trouble you too much, I should like to 
bring my difficulties to you sometimes, and 
get you to direct me. If you will only talk 
frankly to me, as you do to Louisa, oh ! I will 
be very grateful." 

He folded his hands softly over the white, 
fluttering fingers. 

" Louisa is my sister, and therefore I do not 
hesitate to tell her unwelcome truths. But you 
happen to be a perfect stranger, and might not 
relish my. counsel." 

" Try me." 

" How old are you ? Pardon my "inquisi- 
tiveness." 

" Fifteen." 

"An ao-e when young ladies prefer flattery 
to truth. ° Have you no^ brother ?" 

» I am an only child." 



MACARIA. 



39 



".You would like a brother, however ?" 

" Yes, sir, above all things." 

" Take care ; you express yourself strongly. 
If you can fancy me for a brother, consider 
me such. One thing I can promise — you will 
have a guardian sleepless as Ladon, and un- 
tiring in his efforts to aid you as - if he were" in 
truth a Briareus. If you are not afraid of 
espionage, make me your brother. What say 
you?" 

" I am not afraid, sir. I believe I need 
watching." 

"Ah, that you do!" he exclaimed, with un- 
usual emphasis. 

" He can be very stern, Irene, gentle as he 
looks," suggested Louisa. 

" If he never found fault with me I should 
not need his friendship." 

When Monday morning came, and she was 
obliged to return to school, Irene reluctantly 
bade farewell to the new friends. She knew 
that, in conformity to the unalterable regula- 
tion of Crim Tartary, she could only leave the 
institution once a month, and the prospect of 
this long interval between her visits was by 
no means cheering. Harvey assisted her into 
the carriage. 

" I shall send you some books in a day or 
two, and if you are troubled about anything 
before I see you again, write me a note by 
Louisa. I would call to see you occasionally 
if you were boarding anywhere else. Good- 
morning, Miss Irene ; do not forget that I am 
your brother so long as you stay in New York, 
or need one." 

The books were not forgotten ; they arrived 
the ensuing week, and his selection satisfied 
her that he perfectly understood what kind of 
aid she required. Her visit made a lasting im- 
pression on her mind, and the Sabbath spent 
in Louisa's home often recurred to her in after 
years, as the memory of some green, sunny 
isl.e of rest haunts the dreams of weary, tem- 
pest-lashed mariners in a roaring sea. Maria 
Ashley was a sore trial of patience, and occa- 
sionally, after a fruitless struggle to rise above 
the temptations presented almost hourly, Irene 
looked longingly toward Louisa's fireside, as 
one turns to the last source of support. Fi- 
nally she took refuge in silence, and, except 
when compelled to do so, rarely commented 
upon anything that occurred. The days were 
always busy, and when the text-books were 
finished she had recourse to those supplied 
by her new friends. At the close of Ihe next 
month, instead of accompanying Louisa home, 
Irene was suffering with severe cold, and too 
much indisposed to quit the house. This was 
a grievous disappointment, but she bore it 
bravely and went on with her studies. What 
a dreary isolation in the midst of numbers of 
her own age. It was a thraldom that galled 
her; and more than once she implored her 
father's permission to return home. His re- 
plies were positive denials, and after a time 



she cease*d to expect release until the pre- 
scribed course should be ended. Thus an- 
other month dragged itself away. On Friday 
morning Louisa was absent. Irene felt anx- 
ious and distressed ; perhaps she was ill; some- 
thing must have happened. As the day-pUpils 
were dismissed she started back to her own 
room, heart-sick because of this second disap- 
pointment. "After all," thought, she, "I may 
as well accustom myself to being alone. Of 
course 1 can't have the Youngs always. I 
must learn to depend on myself. She put 
away the bonnet and cloak laid out in readi- 
ness for departure, and sat down to write to 
her Aunt Margaret. A few minutes after a 
servant knocked at the door and informed her 
that a gentleman wished to see her in the 
parlor. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

" I am so glad to see you, Mr. Young. 
Louisa is not sick, I hope ?" 

" I came for you in Louisa's place ; she is 
not well enough jto quit her room. Did you 
suppose that I intended leaving you here for 
another month ?" 

" I was rather afraid you had forgotten me ; 
the prospect was gloomy ten minutes ago. It 
seems a long time since I was with you." 

She stood close to him, looking gladly into 
his face, unconscious of the effect of her words. 

" You sent me no note all this time ; why 
not ?" 

" I was afraid of troubling you ; and, be- 
sides, I would rather tell you what I want you 
to know." 

• " Miss Irene, the carriage is at the door. I 
am a patient man, and can wait half an hour 
if you have any preparation to make." 

In much less time she joined him, equipped 
for the ride, and took her place beside him in 
the carriage. As they reached his father's 
door, and he assisted her out, she saw him 
look at her very searchingly. 

" It is time that you had a little fresh air. 
You are not quite yourself. Louisa is in her 
room ; run up to her." 

She found her friend suffering with sore 
throat, and was startled at the appearance of 
her flushed cheeks. Mrs. Young sat beside 
her, and after most cordial greetings the latter 
resigned her seat and left them, enjoining 
upon her daughter the necessity of remaining 
quiet. 

" Mother was almost afraid for you to come, 
but I teased and coaxed for permission ; told 
her that even if I had scarlet-fever, you had 
already had it, and would run no risk. Har- 
vey says it is not scarlet-fever at' all, and he 
persuaded mother to let him go after you. 
He always has things his own way, though he 
brings it about so quietly that nobody would 
ever suspect him of being self-willed. Har- 
vey is a gqpd friend of yours, Irene." 



40 



MACAKIA. 



" I am very glad to hear it ; he is certainly- 
very kind to me. But recollect you are not to 
talk much ; let me talk to you." 

_ Mrs. Young sent up tea for both, and about 
nine o'clock Mr. Young and his son both en- 
tered. Louisa had fallen asleep holding Irene's 
hand, and her father cautiously felt the pulse 
and examined the countenance. The fever 
had abated, and, bending down, Harvey said 
softly : 

" Can't you release your hand without 
waking her ?" 

" I am afraid not ; have prayer without me 
to-night." 

After the gentlemen withdrew, Mrs. Young 
and Irene watched the sleeper till midnight, 
when she awoke. The following morning 
found her much better, and Irene and the 
mother spent the day in her room. Late in 
the afternoon the minister came in and talked 
to his sister for some moments, then turned to 
his mother. 

" Mother, I am going to take this visitor of 
yours down to the library; Louisa has mo- 
nopolized her long enough. Come, Miss Irene, 
you shall join them again at tea." 

He led the way, and she followed him very 
willingly. Placing her in a chair before the 
fire, he drew another to the rug f and seating 
himself, said just as if speaking to Louisa : 

" What have you been doing these two 
months V What is it that clouds your face, 
my little sister ?" 

"Ah, sir ! I am so wear}' of that school. 
You don't know what a relief it is to come 
here." 

" It is rather natural that you should feel 
homesick. It is a fierce ordeal for a child like 
you to be thrust so far from home." 

" I am not homesick now, I believe. I have 
in some degree become accustomed to the 
separation from my father ; but I am growing 
so different from what I used, to be ;, so differ- 
ent from what I expected. It grieves me to 
know that I am changing for the worse ; but, 
somehow, I can't help it. I, make good reso- 
lutions in the morning 'before I leave my 
room, and by noon I manage to break all of 
them. The girls try me, and I lose my pa- 
tience. Wl!en I am at home nothing of this 
kind troubles me. I know you will think me 
very weak, and I dare say I am ; still I try 
much harder than you think I do." 

" If you never yielded to temptation you 
would be mo"re than mortal. We are all prone 
to err ; and, Miss Irene, did it never occur to 
you that, though you may be overcome by 
the evil prompting, yet the struggle to resist 
strengthened you ? So long as life lasts this 
conflict, will be waged ; though you have not 
always succeeded thus far, earnest prayer and 
faithful resolve will enable you to conquer. 
Look to a merciful and watchful God for 
assistance ; ' divine knowledge took the meas- 
ure of every human necessity, and$ivine love 



and power gathered into salvation a more than 
adequate provision.' Louisa has told me the 
nature of the trials that beset you, and that you 
still strive to rise superior to them ought to en- 
courage you. The books which I sent were 
calculated to aid you in your efforts to be 
gentle, forgiving, and charitable under adverse 
circumstances. I use the word charity in its 
broad, deep, true significance. Of all charities 
mere money-giving is the least ; sympathy, 
kind words, gentle judgments, a friendly press- 
ure of weary hands, 'an encouraging smile, 
will frequently outweigh a mint Of coins. 
Bear this in mind : selfishness is the real root of 
all the evil in the world ; people are too isolat- 
ed, too much wrapped up in their individual 
rights, interests, or enjoyments. I, Me, Mine, 
is the God of the age. There are many noble 
exceptions ; philanthropic associations abound 
in our cities, and individual instances of gen- 
erous self-denial now and then flash out upon 
us. But we ought to live more for others than 
we do. Instead of the narrow limits which 
restrict so many, the whole family of the hu-' 
man race should possess our cordial sympathy. 
In proportion as we interest ourselves in pro- 
moting the good and happiness of others our 
natures become elevated, enlarged ; our ca- 
pacities for enjoyment are developed and in- 
creased. The happiest man I ever knew was 
a missionary in Syria. He had abandoned 
home, friends, and country ; but, in laboring 
for the weal of strangers, enjoyed a peace, a 
serenity, a deep gladness, such as not the 
wealth of the Rothschilds could purchase. Do 
not misapprehend me. All can not be mission- 
aries in the ordinary acceptation of that term. 
I believe that very few are really called to 
spend their lives under inclement skies, in 
dreary by-corners of the earth, amid hostile 
tribes. But true missionary work lies at every 
man's door, at every woman's ; and, my little 
sister, yours waits for you, staring at you daily. 
' Do the work that lies nearest to tJiee.' Let me 
give you the rule of a profound thinker, who 
might have accomplished incalculable gdod had 
he walked the narrow winding path which he 
stood afar off and pointed out to others : 
' Know what thou canst work at, and work at 
it like a Hercules ;' and, amid the holy hills of 
Jerusalem, the voice of Inspiration proclaimed : 
' Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with 
thy might ' " 

His low voice fell soothingly on her ear; 
new energy kindled, new strength was infused, 
as she listened, and she said hastily : 

" It would be an easy matter to do all this, 
if I had somebody like you always near to di- 
rect me." 

" Then there would be no glory in conquer- 
ing. Every soul has trials'which must be 
borne without any assistance, save that which 
the Father mercifully bestows. Remember 
the sublime words of Isaiah : ' I have trodden 
the wine-press alone ; and of the people there 



MACAEJA. 



41 



was none with me. And I looked, and there 
■was none to help, and I wondered that there 
was none to uphold ; therefore mine own arm 
brought salvation unto me.' Miss Irene, you, 
too, must ' tread the wine-press alone.' " _ , 

She held her breath and looked up at him ; 
the solemn emphasis of his words startled her ; 
they fell upon her weighty as prophecy, adum- 
brating weary years of ceaseless struggling. 
The fire-light glowed on her sculptured feat- 
ures, and he saw an expression, of vague 
dread in her glance. 

" Miss Irene, yours is not a clinging, de- 
pendent disposition ; if I have ha\;e rightly un- 
derstood your character, you have never been 
accustomed to lean upon others. After rely- 
ing oh yourself so long, why yield to mistrust 
now ? With years should grow the power, 
the determination, to do the work you find 
laid out for you." 

'' It is precisely because I know how very- 
poorly I have managed myself thus far, 'that I 
have no confidence in my own powers for fu- 
ture emergencies. Either I have lived alone 
too long, or else not long enough ; I rather 
think the last. If they had only suffered me 
to act as I wished, I should have been so much 
better at home. Oh, sir ! I am not the girl I 
was eight months ago. I knew how it would 
be when they sent me here." 

Resting her chin in her hands she gazed 
sadly into the grate, and saw, amid glowing 
coals, the walls of the vine-clad cottage, the 
gentle face of the blind woman groping her 
way, the melancholy eyes of one inexpressibly 
dear to her. 

" We can not always live secluded, and at 
some period of your life you would have been 
forced to enter the world and combat its 
troubles, even had you never seen New York. 
It is comparatively easy for anchorites to pre- 
serve a passionless, equable temperament ; but 
to ignore the very circumstances and relations 
of social existence in which God intended that 
we should be purified and ennobled by trial, is 
both sinful and cowardly." 

Taking a small volume from the table, he 
read impressively : 

" What .ire we set on earth for ? Say. to toil ; 
Nor seek to leave thy tending of the ^ines, 
For all the heat o' the day, till it declines, 
And death's mikl etirfew shall from work assoil. 
God did anoint thee with his odorous oil, 

To wrestle, not to reign so others shall 

Take patience, labor, to their heart and hand, 
From thy hand, and thy heart, and thy brave cheer, 
And God's grace fructify through thee to all." ^ 

" Some portentous cloud seems lowering 
over your future. What is it ? You ought to 
be a gleeful girl, full of happy hopes." 

She sank farther back in her chair to es- 
cape his searching gaze, and drooped her face 
lower. 

" Yes, yes; I know I ought, but one can't 
always shut their eyes." .(, 

" Shut their eyes towhat?" 



" Various coming troubles, Mr. Young." 
His lip curled slightly, and, replacing the 

book on the table, he said, as if speaking 

rather to himself than to her : 

" ' The heart knoweth his own bitterness, 

and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his 

joy-' " 

" You are not a stranger, sir." 

" I see you are disposed to consider me such. 
I thought I was your brother. But no matter ; 
after a time all will be well." 

She looked puzzled ; and, as the tea-bell 
summoned them, he merely added : 

" I do not wonder. You are a shy child ; 
but you will soon learn to understand me ; you 
will come to me with all your sorrows." 

During the remainder of this visit she saw 
him no more. Louisa recovered rapidly, and 
when she asked for her brother on Sabbath 
evening, Mrs. Young said he was to preach 
twice that day. Monday* morning arrived, 
and Irene returned to school with a heavy 
heart, fearing that she had wounded him ; but 
a few days after Louisa brought her a book 
and brief note of kind words. About this 
time she noticed in her letters from home allu- 
sions to her own future lot, which increased 
her uneasiness. It was very palpable that her 
father expected her to accede to his wishes 
regarding a union with her cousin ; and she 
knew only too well how fierce was the contest 
before her. Hugh wrote kindly, affectionate- 
ly ; and if she could have divested her mind 
of this apprehension, his letters would have 
comforted her. Thus situated, she turned to 
her books with redoubled zest, and her natu- 
rally fine intellect was taxed to the utmost. 
Her well-earned pre-eminence in her classes 
increased the jealousy, the dislike, and censo- 
riousness of her less studious companions. 
Months passed ; and though she preserved a 
calm, impenetrable exterior, taking no heed 
of sneers and constant persecution, yet the 
worm gnawed its slow way, and the plague- 
spot spread in that. whilom pure spirit. One 
Saturday morning she sat quite alone in her 
small room ; the week bad been specially pain- 
ful, and, wearied in soul, the girl laid her head 
down on her folded arms and thought of her 
home in the far South. The spicy fragrance 
Gf orange and magnolia came to her, and 
Erebus and Paragon haunted her recollection. 
Oh ! for one ride through the old pine-woods. 
Oh ! for one look at the water-lilies bending 
over the creek. Only one wretched year had 
| passed — how could she endure those which were 
to come. A loud rap startled her from this 
painful reverie, and, ere she could utter the 
stereotyped " come in," Louisa sprang to her 
side. 

" I have come for you, Irene ; have obtained 
permission from Dr. for you to accom- 
pany us to the Academy of Design. Put on 
your bonnet ; Harvey is waiting in the recep- 
tion-room. We shall have a charming day." 



42 



MACARIA. 



" Ah, Louisa ! you are all very kind to rec- 
ollect me so constantly. It will give me great 
pleasure to go" 

When they joined the minister Irene fancied 
he received her coldly, and as they walked on 
he took no part in the conversation. The an- 
nual exhibition had just opened ; the rooms 
were thronged with visitors, and the hushed 
tones swelled to a monotonous hum. Some 
stood in groups, expatiating eagerly on certain 
pictures; others occupied the seats and leisure- 
ly scanned now the paintings, now the crowd. 
Furnished with a catalogue, the girls moved 
slowly on, while Mr. Young pointed out the 
prominent beauties or defects of the works 
exhibited. They made the circuit of the room, 
and began a second tour, when their attention 
was attracted by a girl who stood in one corner, 
with her hands clasped behind her. She was 
gazing very intently on ap Ecce-Homo, and, 
though her face wgs turned toward the wall, 
the posture bespoke most unusual interest. 
She was dressed in black, and, having remov- 
ed her straw hat, the rippling jetty hair, cut 
short like a boy's, glistened in the mellow light. 
Irene looked at her an instant, and held her 
breath ; she had seen only one other head 
which resembled that — she knew the purplish 
waving hair. " What is the matter ?" asked 
the minister, noting the change in her coun- 
tenance. She made no answer, but leaned 
forward to catch a glimpse of the face. Just 
then the black figure moved slightly ; she saw 
the profile, the beautiful straight nose, the 
arched brow, the clear olive cheek ; and glid- 
ing up to her she exclaimed : 

" Eleotra ! Electra Grey !'' 

The orphan turned, and they were locked 
in a tight embrace. 

" Oh, Irie ! I am so glad to see you. I have 
bean here so long, and looked for you so often, 
that I had almost despaired. Whenever I 
walk down Broadway, whenever I go out any 
where, I look at every face, peep into every 
bonnet, hoping to find you. Oh ! I am so 
glad." 

Joy flushed tile cheeks and fired the deep 
eyes, and people turned from the canvas on 
the walls to gaze upon two faces surpassing in 
beauty aught that the Academy contained. 

" But what are you doing in New York, 
Electra ? Is Russell with you ? How long 
have you been here ?" 

" Since October last. Bussell is at home ; 
no, he has no home now. When my aunt 
died we separated ; I came on to study under 
Mr. Clifton's care. Have you not heard of 
our loss ?" 

" I have been able to hear nothing, of you. 
I wrote to Dr. Arnold, inquiring after you, but 
he probably never received my letter." 

" And your father ?" queried Electra proudly. 

" Father told me nothing." 

" Is the grave not deep enough for his 
•hate?" 



" What do you mean ?" 

" You don't probably know all that I do ; 
but this is no place to" discuss such matters; 
some time we will talk of it. Do come and 
see me soon— soon. I must go now, I prom- 
ise'd." 

" Where do you live ; I will go home with 

you now." 
"" I am not going home immediately. Mr. 

Clifton's house is No. 85 West street. 

Come this afternoon." 

With a long, warm pressure of hands they 
parted, and Irene stood looking after the 
graceful figure till it glided out of sight. 

" In the name of wonder, who is that ? You 
two have been the 'observed of all observers,'" 
ejaculated the impulsive Louisa. 

" That is my old school-mate and friend of 
whom I once spoke to you. I had no idea 
that she was in New York. She is a poor or- 
phan." 

" Are you ready to return home ? This 
episode has evidently driven pictures out of 
your head for to-day," said Mr. Young,* who 
had endeavored to screen her from obser- 
vation. 

"Yes, quite ready to go, though I have 
enjoyed the morning very much indeed, thanks 
to your kindness." 

Soon after they reached home Louisa was 
called into the parlor to see a young friend ; 
and as Mrs. Young was absent, Irene found it 
rather lonely up stairs. She thought of a new 
volume of travels which she had noticed on 
the hall-table as they entered, and started 
down to get it. About half-way of the flight 
of steps she caught her foot in the carpeting, 
where one of the rods chanced to be loose, and, 
despite her efforts to grasp the railing, fell to 
the floor of the hall, crushing one arm under 
her. The library-door was thrown open in- 
stantly, and the minister came out. She lay 
motionless, and he bent over her. 

" Irene ! where are you hurt ? Speak to 
me." 

He raised her in his arms and placed her 
on the sofa in the sitting-room. The motion 
produced great pain, and she groaned and 
shut her. eyes. A crystal vase containing 
some exquisite- perfume stood on his mother's 
work-table, and, pouring a portion of the 
contents in his palm, he bathed her forehead. 
Acute suffering distorted her features, and 
his face grew pallid as her own while he 
watched her. Taking her hand, he repeated : 

" Irene, my darling ! tell me how you are 
hurt?" 

She looked at him, and said with some dif- 
ficulty : 

" My ankle pains me very much, and I be- 
lieve my arm is broken. I can't move it." 

" Thank God you were not killed." 

He kissed her, then turned away and de- 
spatched a servant for a physician. He sum- 
moned Louisa, and inquired fruitlessly for his 



MACABJA. 



43 



mother ; no one knew whither she had gone ; 
it would not do to wait for her." He stood by 
the sofa and prepared the necessary bandages, 
while his sister could only cry over and caress 
the sufferer. When the physician came the 
white dimpled arm was bared, and he discov- 
ered that the bone was broken. The setting 
was extremely painful, but she lay with closed 
eyes and firmly compressed lips, uttering no 
sound, giving no token of the torture, save in 
the wrinkling of her forehead. They bound 
the arm tightly, and then the doctor said that 
the ankle was badly strained and swollen, b # ut 
there was, luckily, no fracture. He gave 
minute directions to the minister and with- 
drew, praising the patient's remarkable forti- 
tude. Louisa would talk, and her brother 
sent her off to prepare a room for her friend. 

" I think 1 had better go back to the Insti- 
tute, Mr. Young. It will be a long time be- 
fore I can walk again, and I wish you would 

have me carried back. Dr. will be so 

uneasy, and will prefer my returning, as Fath- 
er left me in his charge." She tried to rise, 
but sank back on the pillow. 

" Hush ! hush ! You will stay where you are, 
little ^cripple. I am only thankful you hap- 
pened to be here." 

He smoothed the folds of hair from her 
temples, and for the first time played with the 
curls he had so often before been tempted to 
touch. She looked so slight, so childish, with 
her head nestled against the pillow, that he 
forgot she was almost sixteen, forgot every- 
thing but the beauty of the pale face, and 
bent over her with an expression of the ten- 
derest love. She was suffering too much to 
notice his countenance, and only felt that he 
was very kind and gentle. Mrs. Young came 
in very soon, and heard with the deepest so- 
licitude of what had occurred. Irene again 
requested to be taken to the school, fearing 
that she wriuld cause too much trouble during 
her long confinement to the house. But Mrs. 
■ Young stopped her arguments with kisses, and 
would listen to no such arrangement; she 
would trust to no one but herself to nurse 
''the bruised Southern lily." Having seen 
that all was in readiness, she insisted on car- 
rying her guest to the room adjoining Louisa's 
and opening into her own. Mr. Young had 
gone to Boston the day before, and, turning to 
her son, sh# said : 

" Harvey, as your father is away, you must 
take Irene up stairs ; I am not strong enough. 
Be careful that you do not hurt her." 

She led \he way, and bending down, he 
whispered : <_. 

" My little sister, put this uninjured arm 
around my neck; there — now I shall carry 
you as easily as if you were in a cradle." 

He held her firmly, and as he bore her up 

'the steps the white face lay on his bosom and 

the golden hair floated against his cheek. If 

she had looked at him then, she would have 



seen more than he intended that any one 
should know ; for, young and free from vanity 
though she was, it was impossible to mistake 
the expression of the eyes riveted upon her. 
She never knew how his great heart throbbed, 
nor suspected that he .turned his lips to the 
streaming curls. As he consigned her to his 
mother's care she held out her hand and 
thanked him for his great kindness, little dream- 
ing of the emotions with which he held her 
fingers. He very considerately offered to go 
at once to the principal of the school and ac- 
quaint him with all that had occurred ; and, 
ere long, when an anodyne had been adminis- 
tered, she fell asleep, and found temporary 
relief. Mrs. Young wrote immediately to Mr. 
Huntingdon, and explained the circumstances 
which had made his daughter her guest for 
some weeks at least, assuring him that he need 
indulge no apprehension whatever on her ac- 
count, as she would nurse her as tenderly as a 
mother could. Stupefied by the opiate, Irene 
took little notice of what passed, except when 
roused by the pain consequent upon dressing 
the ankle. Louisa went to_ school as usual, 
but her mother rarely left their guest; and 
after Mr. Young's return he treated her with 
all the affectionate consideration of a parent. 
Several days after the occurrence of the acci- 
dent Irene turned toward the minister, who 
stood talking to his mother. 

" Your constant kindness emboldens me to 
ask a favor of you, which I think you will 
scarcely deny me. I am very anxious to see 
the friend whom I so unexpectedly met at the 
Academy of Design ; and if she knew the cir- 
cumstances that prevent my leaving the house, 
I am very sure she would come to me. Here 
is a card containing her address ; will you 
spare me the time to bring her here to-day ? 
I shall be very much obliged to you." 

" I think you ought to keep perfectly quiet, 
and see no. company for a few days. Can't 
youwait patiently ?" 

" It will dp me no harm to see her., I feel 
as if I 'could not wait." 

" Very well. I will go after her as soon as 
I have fulfilled a previdus engagement. What 
is her name ?" 

" Electra Grey. Did you notice her face ?" 

" Yes ; but why do you ask ?" 

" Because I think she resembles your moth- 
er." 

" She resembles far more an old portrait 
hanging in my room. I remarked it as soon as 
I saw her." 

He seemed lost in thought, and immediately 
after left the room. An hour later Irene's 
listening ear detected the opening and closing 
of the hall-door. 

" There is Electra on the steps ; I hear her 
voice. Will you please open the door ?" 

Mrs. Young laid down her work and rose to 
comply, but Harvey ushered the stranger in 
and then retired. 



44 



MACARIA. 



The lady of the house looked at the new- 
comer, and a startled expression came instant- 
ly into her countenance. She made a step 
forward and paused irresolute. 

"Mrs. Young, allow me to > introduce my 
friend, Miss Electra Grey." Electra bowed, 
and Mrs. Young exclaimed : 

" Grey ! Grey ! Electra Grey ; and so like 
Robert V Oh ! it must be so. Child, who are 
yo*u ? Where are your parents ?" 

_ She approached, and put her hand on the 
girl's shoulders, while a hopeful light kindled 
in her eyes. 

"lam an orphan, Madam, from the South. 
My father died before my birth — my mother 
immediately after." 

" Was your father's name Robert ? Where 
was he from ?" 

" His name was Enoch R. Grey. I don't 
know what his middle name was. He came 
originally from Pennsylvania, I believe." 

" Oh ! I knew that I could not be mistaken ! 
My brother's child ! Robert's child 1" 

She threw her arms around the astonished 
girl and strained her to her heart. 

" There must be some mistake, Madam. 
I never heard that I had relatives in New 
York." 

" Oh, child ! call me Aunt ; I am your 
father's sister. We called him by his middle 
name, Robert, and for eighteen years have 
heard nothing of him. Sit down here, and 
let me tell you the circumstances. Your 
father was the youngest of three children, and 
in his youth gave us great distress by his wild- 
ness ; he ran away from college and went to 
sea. After an absence of three years he re- 
turned, almost a wreck of his former self. My 
mother had died during his long voyage to the 
South Sea islands, and father, who believed 
him to have been the remote cause of her 
death (for her. health failed soon after he left), 
upbraided him most harshly and unwisely. 
His reproaches drove poor Robert to despera- 
tion, and, without giving us any clew, he left 
home as suddenly as before. Whither he went 
we never knew. Father was so incensed that 
he entirely disinherited him ; but at his death, 
when the estate was divided, my Brother Wil- 
liam and I decided that we would take only 
what we considered our proportion, and we 
set apart one-third for Robert. We advertised 
for several, years, but could hear nothing of 
him ; and at the end of the fifth year William 
divided that remaining third. We knew that 
he must have died, and I have passed many a 
sleepless night weeping over his wretched lot, 
mourning that no kind words reached him 
from us — that no monumental stone marked 
his unknown grave. Oh, my dear child ! I 
am so glad to find you out. But where have 
you been all this time ? Where did Robert 
die ?" 

She held the orphan's hand, and made no 
attempt to conceal the tears that rolled over 



her cheeks. Electra gave her a detailed ac- 
count of her life from the time when she was 
taken to her uncle, Mr. Aubrey, at the age of 
four months, till the death of her aunt and 
her removal to New York. 

" And Robert's child has been in want, 
while we knew not of her existence! Oh, 
Electra ! you shall have no more sorrow that 
we can shield you from. I loved your father 
very devotedly, and I shall love his orphan 
quite as dearly. Come to me ; let me be your 
mother. Let me repair the wrong of by-gone 
years." 

She folded her arms around the graceful 
young form and sobbed aloud, while Irene 
found it difficult to repress her own tears of 
sympathy and joy that her friend had found 
such relatives. Of the three, Electra was 
calmest. Though glad to meet with her 
father's family, she knew better than they that 
this circumstance could make little alteration 
in her life, and therefore, when Mrs. Young 
left the room to acquaint her husband and son 
with the discovery she had made, Electra sat 
down beside her friend's sofa just as she would 
have done two hours before. 

" I am so glad for your sake that you are to 
come and live here. Until you know them all 
as well as I do, you can not properly appreci- 
ate your good fortune," said Irene, raising 
herself on her elbow. 

" Yes, I am very glad to meet my aunt," re- 
turned Electra evasively, and then she added 
earnestly : 

" But I rather think that I am gladder still 
to see you again. Oh, Irene ! it seems an age 
since I came to this city. We have both 
changed a good deal ; you look graver than 
when we parted that spring morning that you 
took me to see the painter. I owe even his 
acquaintance to your kindness." 

" Tell me of all that happened after I left 
home. You know that I have heard noth- 
ing." 

The orphan narrated the circumstances 
connected with her aunt's last illness and 
death ; the wretchedness that came upon her 
and Russell; the necessity of their separation. 

" And where is Russell now ?" 

" At home— that is, still with Mr. Campbell, 
who has proved a kind friend. Russell writes 
once a week : he seems tolerably cheerful, and 
speaks confidently of his future as a lawyer. 
He studies very hard, and. I know that he will 
succeed." 

" Your cousin, is very ambitious. I wish he 
could have had a good education."* 

"It will be all the same in the end. He 
will educate himself thoroughly ; he needs no- 
body's assistance," answered Electra with a 
proud smile. 

" When you write to him again don't forget 
to tender him my remembrances and best 
wishes." 

" Thank you." 



MACARIA. 



45 



A slight change came over the orphan's 
countenance, and her companion noted with- 
out understanding it. 

" Electra, you spoke of my father the other 
day in a way that puzzled me, and I wish, if 
you please, you would tell me what you 
meant." 

" I don't know that I ought to talk about 
things that should have been buried before 
vou were born. But yo.u probably know some- 
thing of what happened. We found out after 
you left why you were so suddenly sent off to 
boarding-school, and you can have no idea 
how much my poor aunt was distressed at the 
thought of having caused your banishment. 
Irene, your father hated her, and of course 
you know it ; but do you know why ?" 

" No ; I never could imagine any adequate 
cause:" 

" Well I can tell you. Before Aunt Amy's 
marriage your father loved her, and to please 
her parents she accepted him. She was mis- 
erable, because she was very much attached to 
my uncle, and asked Mr. Huntingdon to re- 
lease her from the engagement. He declined, 
and, finding that her parents sided with him, 
she left home and married against their wishes. 
They adopted a distant relative; and never 
gave her a cent. Your father never forgave 
her. He had great influence wi^h the gov- 
ernor, and she went to him and entreated him 
to aid her in procuring a pardon for her hus- 
band. He repulsed her cruelly, and used his 
influence against my uncle. She afterward 
saw a letter which he wrote to the governor, 
urging him to withhold a pardon. Oh, Irene ! 
if you could have seen Russell when he found 
out all this. Now you have the key to his 
hatred ; now you understand why he wrote j 
you nothing concerning us. Not even Aunt 
Amy's coffin could shut in his hate." 

She rose, and, walking to the window, press- 
ed her face against the panes to cool her burn- 
ing cheeks. 

Irene had put her hand over her eyes, and 
a fearful panorama of coming years rolled 
before her in that brief moment. She saw with 
miserable distinctness the parallelism between 
Mrs. Aubrey's father and her own, and, sick 
at heart, she moaned, contemplating her lot. 
A feeling of remorseful compassion touched 
the orphan as she heard the smothered sound, 
and, resuming her seat, she said gently : 

'' Do not be distressed, Irene ; ' let the dead 
past bury its dead;' it is all over now, and 
no more harm can come of it. I shall be sorry 
that I told you if you let it trouble you." 

Irene knew too well that it was not oyer ; 
that it was but the beginning of harm to her ; 
but she repressed her emotion, and changed 
the subject by inquiring how Electra pro- 
gressed with her painting. 

" Even better than I hoped. Mr. Clifton is 
an admirable master, and does all that he can 
to aid me. I shall succeed, Irene 1 I know, I 



feel that I shall, and it is a great joy to 
me." 

" I am very glad to hear it ; but now you 
will have no need to labor, as you once ex- 
pected to do. You are looking much better 
than I ever saw you, and have grown taller. 
You are nearly sixteen, I believe ?'' 

" Yes, sixteen. I. am three months your 
senior. Irene, I must go home now, for they 
will wonder what "has become of me. I will 
see you again soon." 

She was detained by her aunt, and present- 
ed to the remainder of the family, and it was 
arranged that Mr. and Mrs. Young should 
visit her the ensuing day. While they talked 
over the tea-table of the newly-found, Harvey 
went slowly up stairs and knocked at Irene's 
door. Louisa was chattering delightedly about 
her cousin, and, sending her down to her tea, 
he took her seat beside the sofa. Irene lay 
with her fingers over her eyes, and he said 
gently : 

" You see that I am wiser than you, Irene. 
I knew that it "would do you no good to have 
company. Next time be advised." 

" It was not Electra that harmed me." 

" Then you admit that you have been 
harmed ?" 

" No ; I am low-spirited to-night ; I believe 
that is all." 

" You have not studied dialectics yet. Peo- 
ple are not low-spirited without a cause; tell 
me what troubles you." 

She turned her face to the wall, and an- 
swered : 

" Oh ! there is nothing which I can tell you, 
sir." 

" Irene, why do you distrust me ?" 

" I do not ; indeed I do not. You must not 
believe that for one moment." 

" You are distressed, and yet will not con- 
fide in me." 

" It is something which I' ought not to tell 
even my friend — my brother." 

" You are sure that it is something I could 
not remedy ?" 

" Yes, sir ; perfectly sure." 

"Then' try to forget it, and let me read to 
you." 

He opened the " Rambler," of which she 
was particularly fond, and began to read. 
For a while she listened, and in her interest 
forgot her forebodings, but after a time the 
long silky lashes swept her cheeks, and she 
slept. The minister laid down the volume and 
watched the pure girlish face; noted all its 
witching loveliness, and thought of the homage 
which it would win her in coming years. A 
few more fleeting mouths, and she would reign 
the undisputed queen of society. Wealth, in- 
tellect, manly beauty, all would bow before 
her ; and she was a woman ; would doubtless 
love and marry, like the majority of women. 
He set this fact before him and looked it in 
the face, but it would not answer ; he could 



46 



MAC ARIA.. 



not realize that she would ever be other than 
the trusting, noble-hearted, beautiful child 
which she was to him. He knew as he sat 
watching her slumber that he loved her above 
everything on earth ; that she wielded a pow- 
er none had ever possessed before— that his- 
heart was indissolubly linked with her. He 
had wrestled with this infatuation, had station- 
ed himself on -the platform of sound common 
sense, and railed at and ridiculed this piece of 
folly. His clear, cool reason gave solemn ver- 
dict against the fiercely-throbbing heart, but 
not one pulsation had been restrained. At 
his age, with his profession and long-laid plans, 
this was arrant madness, and he admitted it ; 
but the long down-trodden feelings of his heart, 
having gained momentary freedom, exulting- 
ly ran not and refused to be reined in. lie 
might just as well have laid his palm on the 
whitened crest of surging billows in stormy, 
tropical seas, and bid them sink softly down to 
their coral pavements. Human passions, ha- 
tred, ambition, revenge, love, are despots ; 
and the minister, who for thirty years had 
struggled ibr mastery over these, now found 
himself a slave, lie had studied Irene's 
countenance too well not to know that a shad- 
ow rested on it now ; and it grieved and per- 
plexed him that she should conceal this trouble 
from him. As he sat looking down at her a 
mighty barrier rose between them. His future 
had long been determined — duty called him to 
the rude huts of the far West ; thither pointed 
the finger of Destiny, and thither, at all haz- 
ards, he would go. He thought that he had 
habituated himself to sacrifices, but the spirit 
of self-abnegation was scarcely equal to this 
trial. Reason taught him that the tenderly- 
nurtured child of southern climes would never 
suit him for a companion in the pioneer life 
which he had marked out. Of course, he must 
leave her ; hundreds of miles would intervene ; 
his memory would fade from her mind, and 
for him it only remained to bury her image in 
the prairies of his new home. He folded his 
arms tightly over his chest, and resolved to go 
promptly. 

The gas-light flashed on Irene's hair as it 
hung over the side of the sofa; he stooped 
and pressed his lips to the floating curls, and 
went down to the library smiling grimly at 
his own folly. Without delay he wrote two 
letters, and was dating a third, when his 
mother came in. Placing a chair for her, he 
laid down his pen. 

" I am glad to see you, Mother ; I want to 
have a talk with you." 

"About what, Harvey?" an anxious look 
settled on her face. 

"About my leaving you, and going West. I 
have decided to start next week." 

" Oh, my son ! how can you bring such 
grief upon me ? Surely there is work enough 
lor you to do here, without your tearing your- 
self from us." 



" Yes, Mother, work enough, but hands 
enough also, without mine. These are the 
sunny slopes of the Vineyard, and laborers 
crowd to till them ; but there are cold, shad- 
owy, barren nooks' and corners, that equally 
demand cultivation. There the lines have 
fallen to me, and there I go to my work. Nay, 
Mother ! don't weep ; don't heighten, by your 
entreaties and remonstrances, the barriers to 
my departure. It is peculiarly the province 
of such as J to set forth for this field of opera- 
tions ; men who have wives and children have 
no right to subject them to the privations and 
hardships of pioneer life. But 1 am alone — 
shall always be so — and this call I feel to be 
imperative. You know that I have dedicated 
myself to the ministry, and whatever I firmly 
believe to be my duty to the holy cause 1 have 
espoused,. that i must do even though it sepa- 
rate me from my mother. It is a severe ordeal 
to me — you will probably never know how 
severe ; but we who profess to yield up all 
things for Christ must not shrink from sacri- 
fice. I shall come back now and then, and 
letters are a blessed medium of communica- 
tion and consolation. I have delayed my de- 
parture too long already." 

" Oh, Harvey ! have you fully determined 
on this step V" 

" Yes, mv dear Mother, fully determined to 
go." ' 

" It is very hard for me to give up my only 
son. I can't say that I will reconcile myself 
to this separation ; but you are old enough to 
decide your own future ; and I suppose I 
ought not to urge you. For months J have 
opposed your resolution ; now 1 will not longer 
remonstrate. Oh, Harvey ! it makes my heart 
ache to part with you. If you were married, 
1 should be better satisfied ; but to think of 
you in your loneliness!" She laid her head 
on his shoulder and wept. 

The minister compressed his lips firmly an 
instant, then replied : , 

" 1 always told you that I should never mar- 
ry. 1 shall be too constantly occupied to sit 
down and feel lonely. Now, Mother, I must 
finish my letters, if you please, lor they should 
go by the earliest mail.'' 



CHAPTER IX. 

The artist stood at the window watching 
for his pupil's return ; it was the late afternoon 
hour, which they were wont to spend in read- 
ing, and her absence annoyed him. As he 
rested carelessly against the window, his 
graceful form was displayed to great advan- 
tage, and the long brown hair drooped about 
a classical lace of almost feminine beauty. 
The delicacy of his features was enhanced by 
the extreme pallor of his complexion, and it 
was apparent that close application to his pro- 



MACARIA. 



47 



fession had made serious inroads on a consti- 
. tution never very robust. A certain listless- 
ness of manner, a sort of lazy-grace seemed 
characteristic ; but when his pupil came in 
and laid aside her bonnet, the expression of 
ennui vanished, and he threw himself on a 
sofa, looking infinitely relieved. She drew 
near, and 'without hesitatfbn acquainted him 
with the discovery of her relatives in' New 
York. He listened in painful surprise, and, 
ere she had concluded, sprang up. " I un- 
derstand ! they will want to take you ; will 
urge you to share their home of wealth. But, 
Electra, you won't leave me ; surely you 
won't leave me ?" 

He put his hands on her shoulders, and she 
knew from his quick, irregular breathing that 
the thought of separation greatly distressed 
him. • 

" My aunt has not explicitly invited me to 
reside with her, though I inferred from her 
manner that she confidently expected me to 
do so. Irene also spoke of it as a settled 
matter." 

" You will not allow them to persuade you ? 
Oh, child ! tell me at once that you will never 
leave me." 

" Mr. Clifton, we must part some day ; I 
can not always live here, you know. Before 
veryjong I must go out and earn my bread." 

" Never ! ' while I live. When' I offered 
you a home, I expected it. to be a permanent 
one. I intended to adopt you. Here, if you 
choose, you may work and earn a reputation ; 
but away from me, among strangers, never. 
Electra, you forget ; you gave yourself to me 
once." 

She shuddered, and tried to release herself, 
but the hands were relentless in their grasp. , 

" Electra, you belong to me, my child. 
Whom have I to love but you, my dear pupil '? 
What should I do without you V" 

" 1 have no intention of living with my aunt ; 
I desire to be under obligations to no one but 
yourself. But I am very proud, atfd even tem- 
porary dependence on you galls me. You are, 
i believe, the best friend 1 have on earth, and 
until I can support myself I will remain under 
your care ; longer than that, it would be im- 
possible. I am bound to you, my generous, 
kind master, as to no one else." 

" This does not satisfy me ; the thought that 
you will leave me, at even a distant day, will 
haunt me continually — marring all my joy. 
It can not be, Eiectra ! You gave yourself to 
me once, and I claim you." 

She looked into his eyes, and, with a wom- 
an's quick perception, read all the truth. 

In an instant her countenance changed 
painfully ; she stooped, touched his hand with 
her lips, and exclaimed : 

" Thank you, a thousand times, my friend, 
my father ! for your interest in, and your un- 
varying, unparalleled kindness to me. AH 
the gratitude and affection which a child could 



give to a parent I sKall always cherish toward 
you. Since it annoys you, we will say no 
more about the future ; let the years take care 
of themselves as they come." 

" Will you promise me, positively^ that you 
will not go to your aunt Y" 

" Yes ; I have never seriously entertained 
the thought." . 

She escaped from his hands, and, lighting 
the gas, applied herself to her books for the 
next hour. 

If Irene had found the restraint of boarding- 
school irksome, the separation from Russell was 
well nigh intolerable to Electra. At first she 
had seemed plunged in lethargy ; but after a 
time this mood gave place to restless, unceas- 
ing activity. Like one trying to flee from 
something painful, she rushed daily to her 
work, and regretted when the hours of dark- 
ness consigned her to reflection. Mrs. Clifton 
was quite aged, and though uniformly gentle 
and affectionate toward the orphan, there 
was no common ground of congeniality on 
which they could meet. To a proud, exact- 
ing nature like Electra's, Mr. Clifton's con- 
stant manifestations of love and sympathy 
were very soothing. Writhing under the con- 
sciousness of her cousin's indifference, she 
turned eagerly to receive the tokens of affec- 
tion showeretl upon her. She knew that his 
happiness centred in her, and vainly fancied 
that she could feed her hungry heart with his 
adoration. But by degrees she realized that 
these* husks would not satisfy her ; and a sin- 
gular sensation of mingled gratitude and im- 
patience arose whenever he caressed her.- In 
his house her fine intellect found ample range ; 
an extensive library wooed her, when not en- 
gaged with her pencil, and with eager curi- 
osity she plunged into various departments of 
study. As might easily have- been predicted, 
from the idealistic tendency of her entire 
mental conformation, she early selected the 
imaginative realm as peculiarly her own. 
Over moth-eaten volumes of mythologic lore 
she pored continually; effete theogonies and 
cosmogonies seized upon her fancy, and peo- 
pled all space with the gods and heroes of 
most ancient days. She lived among weird 
phantasmagoric creations of Sagas and Pura- 
nas, and roamed from Asgard to Kiukadulle, 
having little sympathy or care for the realities 
that surrounded her. Mr. Clifton's associates 
were principally artists, and the conversations 
to which she listened tended to increase ber 
enthusiasm for the profession she had chosen. 
She had no female companion except Mrs. 
Clifton, and little leisure to discuss the topics 
which ordinarily engage girls of her age. The 
warm gushings of her heart were driven back 
to their springs, and locked from human gaze ; 
yet she sometimes felt her isolation almost in- 
tolerable. To escape from herself she was 
goaded into feverish activity, and, toiling To- 
day, shut h,er eyes to the To-morrow. 



48 



MACAKIA. 



She counted the days between Bussell's 
letters ; when they arrived, snatched them with 
trembling fingers, and hastened to her own 
room to devour them. Once read and folded 
away, this thought fell with leaden weight 
upon her heart : " There is so little in this let- 
ter, and now I must wait another long week 
for the next." He never surmised half her 
wretchedness, for she proudly concealed her 
discontent, and wrote as if happy and hopeful. 
The shell of her reserve was beautifully pol- 
ished and painted, and it never occurred to 
him that it enclosed dark cells where only 
wailings echoed. In figure, she was decidedly 
petit, but faultlessly symmetrical and grace- 
ful ; and the piquant beauty of her face won 
her the admiration of those who frequented 
the studio. 

Among the artists especially she was a well- 
established pet, privileged to' inspect their 
work whenever she felt disposed, and always 
warmly welcomed. They encouraged her in 
her work, stimulated her by no means dor- 
mant ambition, and predicted a brilliant and 
successful career. Mrs. Clifton was a rigid 
lioman Catholic ; her son a free-thinker, in the 
broadest significance of the term, if one might 
judge from the selections that adorned his 
library shelves. But deep in his soul was the 
germination of a mystical creed, which gradu- 
ally unfolded itself to Electra. The simple 
yet sublime faith of her aunt rapidly faded 
from the girl's heart ; she turned from its se- 
vere simplicity to the gorgeous accessories of 
other systems. The pomp of ceremonial, the 
bewildering adjuncts of another creed, wooed 
her overweening, excited fancy. Of doctrine 
she knew little and cared less ; the bare walls 
and quiet service of the old church at home 
had for her no attraction ; she revelled in dim 
cathedral light, among mellow, ancient pict- 
ures, where pale wreaths of incense curled, and 
solemn organ-tones whispered through marble 
aisles. She would sit with folded arms, watch- 
ing the forms of devotees glide in and out, and 
prostrate themselves before the images on the 
gilt altar; and Fancy wafted her, at such times, 
to the dead ages of imperial Greece, when de- 
vout hearts bore offerings to Delphi, Delos, 
Podona, and Eleusis. An arch-idolatress she 
would have been in the ancient days of her 
Mycentean namesake — a priestess of Demeter 
or Artemis. At all hazards this dainty fancy 
must be pampered, and she gleaned aliment 
fr,om every source that could possibly yield it, 
fostering a despotic tendency which soon 
towered above every other element of her 
being. The first glimpse of her teacher's 
Swedenborgian faith was sufficient to rivet her 
attention. She watched the expansion of his 
theories, and essayed to follow the profound 
trains of argumentation, based on physical 
analogies and correspondences, which led him 
so irresistibly to his conclusions. But dialectics 
formed no portion of her intellectual heritage, 



and her imagination seizing, by a kind of 
secret affinity, the spiritualists elements of the. 
system, turned with loathing from the granite- 
like, scientific fundamentals. Irene would have 
<yone down among the mortar and. bricks, 
measuring the foundations, but Electra gazed 
upon the "exquisite acanthus- wreathmgs of the 
ornate capitals, the glowing frescos of the 
mighty nave, and here was content to rest. 
Mr! Clifton never attempted to restrain her 
movements or oppose her inclinations ; like a 
bee she roved ceaselessly from book t'o book, 
seeking honey, and, without the safeguard of 
its unerring instinct, she frequently gathered 
poison from lovely chalices. Ah, Amy Aubrey ! 
it was an evil day for your orphan charge 
when Apropos cut the tangled thread of your 
life, and you left her to follow the dictates of 
her stormy temperament. Yet otherwise, 
nature could never have fully woven the pat- 
tern ; it would have been but a blurred, im- 
perfect design. It was late at night when 
Electra retired to her room and sat down to 
collect . her thoughts after the unexpected 
occurrences of the day. 

More than one discovery had .been made 
since the sunrise, which she awoke so early to 
study. She had 'found relatives, and an op- 
portunity of living luxuriously ; but, in the 
midst of this beautiful bouquet of surprises, a 
serpent's head peered out at her. Once be- 
fore she thought she had caught sight of its 
writhing folds, but it vanished too instantane- 
ously to furnish disquiet. Now its glittering 
eyes held her spell-bound ; like the Pentagram 
in Faust, it kept her in '• durance vile." Slie 
would fain have shut her eyes had it been pos- 
sible. Mr. Clifton loved her : not as a teacher 
his pupil, not as guardian loves ward, not as 
parent loves child. Perhaps he had not intend- 
ed that she should know it so soon, but his eyes 
had betrayed the secret. She saw perfectly 
how matters stood. This, then, had prompted 
him, from the first, to render her assistance ; 
he had resedved to make her his wife ; nothing 
less would content him. She twisted her 
white fingers in her hair, and gazed vacantly 
down on the carpet, and gradually the rich 
crimson blood sank out of her face. She held 
his life in the hollow of her hand, and this she 
well knew ; death hung over him like the 
sword of Damocles ; she had been told that 
any violent agitation or grief would bring on 
the hemorrhage which he so much dreaded, 
and although he seemed stronger and better 
than usual, the insidious nature of his disease 
gave her little hope that he would ever be ro- 
bust. To feign ignorance of his real feelings 
for her would prove but a temporary strata- 
gem; the time must inevitably come, before 
long, when he would put aside this veil and 
set the truth before her. How should she 
meet it — how should she evade him 'i Accept 
the home which Mrs. Young would offer her, 
and leave him to suffer brietiy, to sink swiftly 



MACARIA. 



49 



into the tomb ? No ; her father's family had 
cast him most unjustly off, withholding his pat- 
rimony ; and now she scorned to receive one 
cent of the money which his father was un- 
willing that he should enjoy. Beside, who 
loved her as well as Henry Clifton ? She 
owed more to him than to any living being ; it 
would be the part of an ingrate to leave him ; 
it was cowardly to shrink from repaying the 
debt. But the thought of being his wife froze 
her blood, and heavy drops gathered on her 
brow as she endeavored to reflect upon this 
possibility. 

A feeling of unconquerable repulsion sprang 
up in her heart, nerving, steeling her against 
his affection. With! a strange instantaneous 
reaction, she thought with loathing of his 
words of endearment. How could she endure 
them in future, yet h/>w reject without, wound- 
ing him ? One, and only one, path of escape 
presented itself— a path of measureless joy. 
5>he lifted her hands, and murmured : 
" Russell ! Russell ! save me from this." 
When Mr. and Mrs. Young visited the stu- 
dio the following day, and ursjed the orphan's 
removal to their house, she gently but reso- 
lutely declined their generous offer, express- 
ing an affectionate gratitude toward her 
teacher, and a determination not to leave him, 
at least for the present. Mrs. Young was 
much distressed, and adduced every argument 
of which she was mistress, but her niece re- 
mained firm; and, finding their entreaties 
fruitless, Mr. Young said that he would im-_ 
mediately, take the necessary steps to secure 
Robert Grey's portion of the estate to his 
daughter. Electra sat with her hand nestled 
in her aunt's, but when this matter was alluded 
to she rose, and said proudly : 
„ " No, sir ; let the estate remain just as it is. 
I will never accept one cent. My grandfather 
on his death-bed excluded my father from any 
portion of it, and since he willed it so, even so 
it shall be. I have no legal claim to a dollar, 
and I will never receive one from your gen- 
erosity. It was the will of the dead that you 
and my Uncle William should inherit the 
whole, and, as far as I am concerned, have it 
you shall. I am poor, I know ; so were my 
parents; poverty they bequeathed as my 
birthright, and even as they lived without aid 
from my grandfather so will I. It is very- 
noble and "generous in you, after the expi- 
ration of nearly twenty years, to be willing to 
divide with the orphan of the outcast ; but I 
will not, can not, allow you to do so. I fully 
appreciate and most cordially thank you both 
for your goodness ; but I am young and strong, 
and I expect to earn my living. Mr. Clifton 
and his mother want me to remain in his 
house until I finish my studies, and I grate- 
fully accept his kind offer. Nay, Aunt ! don't 
let it trouble you so ; I shall visit you very 
frequently." 

" She has all of Robert's fierce obstinacy. 



I see it in her eyes, hear it ringing in the 
tones of her voice. Take care, child ! it ruin- 
ed your father," said Mrs. Young sorrow- 
fully. 

" You should remember, Electra, that an 
orphan girl needs a protector ; such I would 
fain prove myself" 

As Mr. Young spoke he took one of her 
hands and drew her, to him. She turned 
quickly and laid the other on the artist's arm. 

" I have one here, sir ; a protector as true 
and kind as my own father could be." 

She understood the flash of his eyes and his 
proud smile, as he assured her relatives that 
he would guard her from harm and want so 
long as he lived, or as she remained under his 
care. She knew he regarded this as a tacit 
sealing of the old compact, and she had no in- 
clination to undeceive him at this juncture. 

Urging her to visit them as often as possible, 
and extending the invitation to Mr. Clifton, 
the Youngs withdrew, evidently much disap- 
pointed ; and, as the door closed behind them, 
Electra felt that the circle of doom was nar- 
rowing around her. Mr. Clifton approached 
her, but, averting her head, she lifted the dam- 
ask curtain that divided the parlor from the 
studio and effected her retreat, dreading to 
meet his glance — putting off the evil day as 
long as possible — trying to -trample the ser- 
pent that trailed after her from that hour. 



CHAPTER X. 

" You are better, to-day, Mother tells me." 

" Yes, thank you, my foot is much better. 
You have not been up to see me for two 
days." 

Irene sat in an easy-chair by the open win- 
dow, and the minister took a seat near her. 

" I have not forgotten you in the interim, 
however." As he spoke he laid a bouquet of 
choice flowers in her lap. She bent over them 
with eager delight, and held out one hand, 
saying: 

" Oh, thank you ; how very kind you are. 
These remind me of the greenhouse at home ; 
they are the most beautiful I have seen in New 
York." 

" Irene, the man or woman who is impervi- 
ous to the subtle, spiritualizing influence of 
flowers may feel assured that there is some- 
thing lamentably amiss in either his or her 
organization or habits of life. They weave 
rosy links of association more binding than 
steel, and sometimes of incalculable valujg. 
Amid the awful solitude of Alpine glaciers, I 
recollect the thrill of pleasure which the blue 
gentians caused me, as I noted the fragile 
petals shuddering upon the very verge of 
fields of eternal snow ; and among cherished 
memories of the far East are its acacias and 
rhododendrons ; the scarlet poppies waving 



50 



MACARIA. 



like a 'mantle of .blood 'over Syrian valleys, 
and the oleanders fringing the gray, gloomy 
crags and breathing their exquisite fragrance 
over the silent desolation of that grand city of 
rock — immemorial Petra. I have remarked 
your fondness for flowers ; cultivate it always ; 
they are evangels of purity and faith, if we but 
unlock our hearts to their ministry. Callous 
and sordid indeed must be that soul who fails 
in grateful appreciation 'of gifts designed es- 
pecially to promote the happiness and adorn 
the dwellings of our race ; for, in attestation of 
this truth, stand the huge, hoary tomes of ge- 
ology, proving that the pre-Adamio, ages were 
comparatively barren of the gorgeous flowers 
which tapestried the earth so munificently 
just ere man made his appearance on the stage. 
A reverent student of the rocks, who spent his 
life in listening to the solemn, oracular whis- 
pers of their grand granite lips, that moved, 
Memnon-like, as he flashed the light of Reve- 
lation upon them, tells us : ' The poet accepted 
the bee as a sign of high significance ; the ge- 
ologist, also, accepts her as a sign. Her en- 
tombed remains testify to the gradual fitting up 
of our earth as a place of habitation for a creat- 
ure destined to seek delight for the mind and 
eye as certainly as for the grosser senses, and 
in 1 especial mark the introduction of stately 
forest-trees and the arrival of the delicious 
flowers.' A profound thinker and eloquent 
writer, who is now doing a noble work for his 
generation by pointing it to unstained sources 
of happiness, has said of flowers : ' They are 
ohaliees of Divine workmanship—of purple 
and scarlet and liquid gold — from which man 
is to drink the pure joy of beauty.' There is, 
you know, a graduated scale of missionary 
■work for all created things ; man labors for 
God and his race through deep, often tor- 
tuous, channels, and nature — all animate and 
inanimate nature — ministers in feebler yet still 
heaven-appointed processes. The trouble is 
that, in the rush and din and whirl of life, we 
•will not pause to note these sermons; and 
from year to year the whispered precepts 
of faith, hope, and charity fall on deaf ears. 
Nature is so prodigal of refining, elevating in- 
fluences, and man is so inaccessible in his iso- 
lating, inflated egotism." 

He paused, and busied himself in cutting the 
leaves of a new book, while Irene looked into 
his' calm, noble face, pondering his words; 
then her eyes went back to the bouquet, and 
his dwelt once more upon her. 

" Irene, you look sober to-day ; come, cheer 
up. 1 don't want to carry that grave expres- 
sion away with me. I want to remember 
your face as 1 first saw it, unshadowed." 

" What do you mean ? Are you going to 
leavf home ?" 

" Yts ; day after to-morrow I bid farewell to 
New York lor a long time. I am going to 
the West to take charge of a church." 

" Oh, Mr. Young ! surely you are not in 



earnest? You can not mtend to separate 
yourself from your family ?" 

She dropped her flowers and leaned for- 
ward. 

"Yes, I have had it in contemplation for 
more than a year, and, recently, I have de- 
cided to remove at once." 

He saw the great sorrow written in her 
countenance, the quick flutter of her lip, the. 
large drops that dimmed the violet eyes and 
gathered on the long golden lashes, and far 
sweeter than Eolian harps was the broken 
voice : 

" What shall I do without you ? who will 
encourage and advise me.when you go?" 

She leaned her forehead on her hands, and 
a tear slid down and rested on her chin. The 
sun was setting, and the crimson light flooding 
the room bathed her with glory, spreading 
a halo around her. He held his breath and 
gazed upon the drooping figure and bewitch- 
ing face ; and in after years, when his dark 
hair had grown silvery gray, he remembered 
the lovely sunlit vision that so entranced hi.u. 
leaving an indelible image on heart and brain, 
lie gently removed the hands, and holding 
them in his said, in the measured, low tone w> 
indicative of suppressed emotion : 

" Irene, my friend, you attach too much 
importance to the aid which I might render 
you. You know your duty, and 1 leel assured 
will not require to be reminded of it. Hence- 
forth our paths diverge widely. I go to a 
distant section of our land, there to do my 
Father's work ; and, ere long, having con- 
cluded the prescribed course, you will return 
to your Southern home and take the position 
assigned you in society-. Thus, in all human 
probability, we shall meet no more, for " 

" Oh, sir ! don't say that ; you will eome 
back to visit your family, and then I shall see 
you." 7 

" That is scarcely probable, but we will not 
discuss it now. There, is, however, a channel 
of communication for separated friends, and 
of this we must avail ourselves. I shall write 
to you from western wilds, and letters from 
you will most pleasantly ripple the monoto- 
nous life I expect to lead. This is the last 
opportunity I shall have to speak with you ; let 
me do so freely, just as 1 would to Louisa. 
You are young and rather peculiarly situ- 
ated ; and sometimes I fear that, "in the great 
social vortex awaiting you, constant tempta- 
tion and frivolous associations will stifle the 
noble impulses nature gave to guide you. As 
you grow older you will more fully compre- 
hend my meaning, and find that there are 
social problems which every true-hearted man 
and woman should earnestly strive to solve. 
These will gradually unfold themselves as 
the web of time unravels before you. You 
will occupy an elevated stand-point of view, 
and you must take care that, unlike the great 
mass of mankind, you do not grow caJJoii.-, 



MACARIA. 



51 



turning a deaf ear to the cry ' the laborers arc 
few.' It is not womaii's place to obtrude her- 
self in the pulpit or harangue from the ros- 
trum ; such an abnormal course levels the 
distinctions which an all-wise God established 
between the sexes, but the aggregate of her 
usefulness is often greater than man's. Irene, 
1 want. you to wield the vast influence your 
Maker has given you nobly and for His glory. 
Let your uaobstrusive yet consistent, resolute, 
unerring conduct leave its impress for good 
wherever you are known. I would not have 
you debar yourself from a single avenue of 
pure"enjoyuient ; far from it. Monkish ascet- 
icism and puritanic bigotry 1 -abhor; but 
there is a happy medium between the wild ex- 
cesses of so-called fashionable life and the 
str'aitlaced rigidity of narrow-minded phari- 
seeism ; and this I would earnestly entreat 
you to select. To discover and adhere to this 
medium path is almost as difficult as to skip 
across the Arabic A!-Sirat, of which we read 
last week. Ultraism is the curse of our race, 
as exemplified in all departments of society ; 
avoid it, dear child ; cultivate enlarged views 
of life, suppress selfishness, and remember 
that charity is the key-stone of Christianity." 

" I have not the strength which you impute 
to me." 

" Then seek it from the Everlasting source." 

' ; I do, but God does not hear me." 

!' You are tot) easily di.- heartened ; strive to 
be faithful and He will aid you, brace you, up- 
hold you. Will, i£ be any comfort for you to 
know tha # t I remember you in my prayers, that 
1 constantly bear your name on my lips to the 
throne of grace ?" 

" Oh, yes ! very great comfort. Thank you, 
thank you ; will you always pray for me V If I 
thought so it would make me happier." 

" Then rest assured that I always shall ; and, 
Irene, when sorrows come upon you — for come 
they must to all — do not forget that you have 
at least one firm, faithful friend, waiting and 
anxious to aid you by every means in his 
power." 

Disengaging her fingers, which still clasped 
his tightly, he moved his chair backward and 
took a small blank-book from his pocket, say- 
ing: 

" You once asked me to give you a eatar 
logue of those works which I thought' it advis- 
able for you to study before you plunged into 
miscellaneous reading. Such a list you will 
find here, and my experience has enabled me 
to classify them so as to save you some of the 
trouble which I had at your age. In examin- 
ing it, you will see that I have given promi- 
nence to the so-called ' Natural Sciences.' As 
these furnish data for almost all branches of 
investigation nowadays (there being a grow- 
ing tendency to argue from the analogy of 
physics), you can not too thoroughly acquaint 
yoursef with all that appertains to the subject. 
The writings of Humboldt, Hugh Miller, Cu- 



vier, and Agassiz constitute a thesaurus of 
scientific information essential to a correct ap- 
preciation of the questions now agitating the 
thinking world; and, as you proceed, you will 
find the wondenul harmony of creation un- 
folding itself, proclaiming, in unmistakable ac- 
cents, that the works of God ' are good.' As 
time rolls on, the great truth looms up colossal, 
' Science and Christianity are handmaids, not 
antagonists.' Irene, remember : 

*' A pagan kiesing for a step of Pan, 
The wild goat'a hoof-print on the loamy down, 
Exceeds our niodern thinker "who turns back 
The strata — granite, limestone, coal, and clay, 
Concluding coldly with " Here 's law ! where 's Godf " 

'■ Can't you stay longer and talk to me ?"* 
said Irene, as he gave the blank-book to her 
and rose. 

" No ; I promised to address the street 

Sabbath-school children to-night, and must 
look over my notes before I go." He glanced 
at his watch, smiled pleasantly, and left her. 

The following day was dreary to all in that 
dwelling; Mrs. Young went from room to 
room collecting various articles belon^'mo- to 
her son, making no effort to conceal the tears 
that rolled constantly over her cheeks ; and 
now and then Louisa's sobs broke the sad 
silence. Harvey was engaged in the library 
packing his books, and Irene saw him no more 
till after tea. Then he came up with his 
mother, and kindly inquired concerning her 
arm. He saw .that she shared the "distress of 
the family, and, glancing over his shoulder at 
his mother, he said, laughingly : 

" She looks too doleful to Be left here alone 
all the evening. Can't we contrive to take 
her down stairs to the sitting-room ? What 
think you, Mother ?" 

u Let her decide it herself. Shall Harvey 
take you down, my dear ? It is his last even- 
ing at home, you know." Her voice faltered 
as she spoke. 

" I should like to join you all at prayer once 
more, and I think I could walk down slowly, 
with a little help. Suppose you let me try.? 
1 walked a few steps yesterday, by pushing a 
chair before me." 

"Be very careful not to 'strain your foot." 
'She wrapped a light shawl around the girl's 
shoulders, and, leaning on the minister's arm, 
she limped to the head of the stairs; but he 
saw, from the wrinkle on her forehead, that 
the effort gave her pain, and, takin>' her in his 
arms as if she were au infant, he replaced her 
in the chair. 

" I see it will not do to carry you down yet. 
You are not strong enough, aud, beside, you 
ought to be asleep. Irene, would you like for 
me to read and pray with you belore I say 
good-by V" 

" Yea, sir ; it would give me great pleasure.'' 

Mrs. Young drew the candle-stand and Bible 
from its corner, aud taking a seat near the arm- 
chair, Harvey turned over the leaves and 



MACARIA. 



slowly read tte sixty-third and sixty-fourth 

chapters of Isaiah. His voice was low and 

sweet as a woman's, and the calm lofty brow 

on which the light glcam^ was smooth and 

fair as a child's, bearing nv footprints of the 

thirty years that had crept over it. When the 

reading was concluded he knelt and prayed 

fervently for the' girl, who sat with her face 

hidden in her arms ; prayed that she might be 

guided by the Almighty hand into paths of 

peace and usefulness ; that she mighty be 

strengthened to do the work required of her. 

There was no unsteadiness in his tone, no trace 

of emotion, when he ended his prayer and 

stood up before her. Irene was deeply moved, 

and, when she essayed to thank him, found it 

impossible to pronounce her words. Tears 

• were gliding down her cheeks ; he put back 

the hair, and" taking the face softly in his palms, 

looked long and earnestly at its fascinating 

beauty. The great glistening blue eyes gazed 

into his, and the silky lashes and rich scarlet 

lips trembled. He felt the hot blood surging 

like a lava-tide in his veins, and his heart 

rising in fierce rebellion at the stern interdict 

which he saw fit to lay upon it: but no token 

of all this came to the cool, calm surface. 

" Good-by, Irene. May God bless you, my 
dear little friend !" 

, -He drew the face close to his own as though 
he would have kissed her, but forbore, and 
merely raising her hands to his lips, turned 
and left the room. Verily, greater is "he that 
ruleth his own spirit than he that taketh a 
city." He left before breakfast the ensuing 
morning, bearing his secret with him, having 
given no intimation, by word or look, of the 
struggle which his resolution cost him. Once 
his mother had fancied that he felt more than 
a friendly interest in their guest, but the ab- 
solute repose of his countenance and grave 
serenity of his manner during the last week of 
his stay dispersed all her suspicions. From a 
luxurious home, fond friends, and the girlish 
face he loved better than his life, the minister 
went forth to his distant post, offering in sacri- 
fice to God, upon the altar of Duty, his throb- 
bing heart and hopes of earthly happiness. 

A cloud of sadness settled on the household 
after his departure, and scarcely less than 
Louisa's was Irene's silent grief. The con- 
finement grew doubly irksome when his voice 
and step had passed from the threshold, and 
she looked forward impatiently to her release. 
The sprain proved more serious than she had 
at first imagined, and the summer vacation 
set in before she was able to walk with ease. 
Mr. Huntingdon had been apprised of her long 
absence from school, and one day, when she 
was cautiously trying her strength, he arrived, 
without having given premonition of his visit. 
As he took her in his arms and marked the 
alteration in her thin face, the listlessness of 
her manner, the sorrowful gravity of her 



countenance, his fears were fully aroused, and, 
holding her to his hearty' be exclaimed: 

"My Daughter! my," Beauty! I must take 
you out of New York." 

" Yes, Father, take me home ; do take me 
home." She clasped her arms around his neeli 
and nestled her face close to his. 

" Not yet, Queen. We will go to the Cats- 
kill, to Lake George, to Niagara. A few 
weeks' travel will invigorate you. I have 
written to Hugh to meet us at Montreal; he if 
with a gay party, and you shall have a royal 
time. A pretty piece of business, truly j thai 
you can't amuse yourself in any other waj 
than by breaking half the bones in your body.' 

" Father, I would rather go home. Oh ! 1 
am so tired of this city, so sick of that board 
ing-school. Do, please, let me go back witl 
you." 

" Oh, nonsense, Irene. Lift up your sleeve 
and let me see your arm ; stretch it out ; aL 
right, I believe ; straight enough. You wen 
walking just now ; how is your foot ?" 

"Almost well, I think; occasionally I havt 
a twinge of pain when I bear my whtole weigh) 
on it." 

" Be sure you do not overtax it for a while 
By Monday you will be able to start to Sara 
tojfa. Your aunt sent a trunk of clothing 
and, by the way, here is a letter from her ant 
one from Arnold. The doctor worries con 
siderably about you ; is afraid you will not b< 
properly attended to." 

Thus the summer programme was determin 
ed without any reference to the wishes of the 
one most concerned, and, knowing her father'i 
disposition, she silently acquiesced. Aftei 
much persuasion, Mr. Huntingdon prevailed 
on Louisa's parents to allow her to aecompanj 
them. The mother consented very reluctant 
ly, and on the appointed day the party set ofl 
for Saratoga. The change was eminent!) 
beneficial, and before they reached Canada 
Irene seemed perfectly restored. But he! 
father was not satisfied. Her unwonted taci 
turnity anno) ed and puzzled him ; he knew 
that beneath the calm surface some strong un- 
dercurrent rolled swiftly, and he racked his 
brain to discover what had rendered her so re 
served. Louisa's joyous, elastic spirits proba- 
bly heightened the effect of her companion's 
gravity, and the contrast daily presented could 
not fail to arrest Mr. Huntingdon's attention. 
On arriving at Montreal the girls were left for 
a iew moments in the parlor of the hotel, 
while Mr. Huntingdon went to register their 
names. Irene and Louisa stood by the window 
looking out into the street, when a happy, 
ringing voice exclaimed : 

" Here you are, at last, Irie ! I caught a 
glimpse of your curls as you passed the dining- 
room door." ' 

She turned to meet her cousin, and held out 
her hand. 



MACARIA. 



5S 



" Does your majesty suppose I shall be sat- 
isfied with the tips of your fingers? Pshaw, 
Irie ! I will have my kiss." 

He threw his arm round her shoulder, drew 
down the shielding hands, and kissed her 
twice. 

" Oh, Hugh ! behave yourself ! Miss Louisa 
Young, toy cousin, Hugh Seymour." 

He bowed, and shook hands with the stran- 
ger, then seized his cousin's fingers and fixed 
his fine eyes affectionately upon her. 

•' It seems an age since I saw you, Irie. 
Come, sit down and let me look at you ; how 
stately you have grown, to be sure ! More 
like a queen than ever; absolutely two inches 
taller since you entered boarding-school. Irie, 
I am so glad to see you again !" He snatched 
up a handful of curls and drew them across his 
lips, careless of what Louisa might think. 

" Thank you, Hugh. I am quite as glad to 
see you." 

" Oh, humbug ! I know better. You would 
rather see Paragon any day, ten to one. I 
will kill that dog yet, and shoot Erebus, too ; 
see if I don't ! then maybe you can think of 
somebody else. When you are glad you show 
it in your eyes, and now they are as still as 
violets under icicles. I think you might love 
me a little, at least as much as a dog." 

" Hush ! I do love you, but I don't choose to 
tell it to everybody in Montreal." 

Mr. Huntingdon's entrance diverted the 
conversation, and Irene was glad to escape to 
her own room. 

" Your cousin seems to be very fond of you," 
observed Louisa, as she unbraided her hair. 

" He is very impulsive and demonstrative, 
that is all." . • 

•' How handsome he is !" 

■' Do you think so, really ? Take care, Lou- 
isa ! I will tell him, and, by way of crushing 
his vanity, add Hie gustibus, etc., etc., etc' " 

" How old is he 'i" 

" In his twentieth year." 

From that time the cousins were thrown 
constantly together; wherever they went Hugh 
took charge of Irene, while Mr. Huntingdon 
gave his attention to Louisa. But the eagle 
eye was upon his daughter's movements ; he 
watched her countenance, weighed her words, 
tried to probe her heart. Week after week 
he found nothing tangible. Hugh was gay, 
careless ; Irene equable, but reserved. Final- 
ly they turned their faces homeward, and in 
October found themselves once more in New 
York. Mr. Huntingdon prepared to return 
South and Hugh to sail for Europe, while 
Irene remained at the hotel until the morning 
of her cousin's departure. 

A private parlor adjoined the room she oc- 
cupied, and here he came to say farewell. She 
knew that he had already had a long conver- 
sation with her father, and as he threw him- 
self on the sofa and seized one of her hands, 
she instinctively shrank from him. 



" Irene, here is my miniature. I wanted 
3'ou to ask for it, but I see that you won't do 
it. I know very well that you will not value 
it one-thousandth part as much as I do your 
likeness here on my watch-chain ; but perhaps 
it will remind you of me sometimes. How I 
shall want to. see you before I come home! 
You know you belong to me. Uncle gave you 
to me, and when I come back from Europe we 
will be married. We are both very young, I 
know; but it has been settled so long. Irie, 
my beauty, I wish you would love me more ; 
you are so cold. Won't you try ?" 

He leaned down to kiss her, but she turned 
her face hastily away and answered, resolute- 
ly: 

" No, I can't love you other than as my 
cousin ; I would not, if I could. I do not think 
it would be right, and I won't promise to try. 
Father has no right to give me to you, or to 
anybody else. I tell you now I belong to my- 
self, and only I can give myself away. Hugh, 
I don't consider this settled at all. You might 
as well know the truth at once ; I have some 
voice in the matter." 

Mr. Huntingdon had evidently prepared him 
for something of this kind on her part, and 
though his face flushed angrily, he took no no- 
tice of the remonstrance. 

" I shall write to you frequently, and I hope 
that you will be punctual in . replying. Irie, 
give me your left hand just a minute ; wear thi.« 
ring till I come back, to remind you that you 
have a cousin across the ocean." 

He tried to force the flashing jewel on 'her 
slendcr finger, but she resisted, and rose, strug- 
gling to withdraw her hand. 

" No, no, Hugh ! I can't ; I won't. I know 
very well what that ring means, and I can not 
accept it Release my hand ; I tell you I won't 
wear it." 

" Come, Hugh ; you have not a moment to 
spare ; the carriage is waiting." Mr. Hunting- 
don threw open the door, having heard every 
word that passed. Hugh dropped the ring in 
his vest-pocket and rose. 

" Well, Irie, I suppose I must bid you fare- 
well. Two or three years will change you, 
my dearest little cousin. Good-by ; think of 
me now and then, and learn to love me by the 
time I come home." 

She suffered him'totake both her hands and 
kiss her tenderly, for her father stood there 
and she could not refuse ; but the touch of hh 
lips burned long after he had gone. She put 
on her bonnet, and, when her father returned 
from the steamer, they entered the carriage 
which was to convey her to the dreary, dread- 
ed school. As they rolled along Broadway 
Mr. Huntingdon coolly took her hand and 
placed Hugh's ring upon it, saying, authorita- 
tively : 

" Hugh told me you refused to accept his 
parting gift, and seemed much hurt about it- 
There is no reason why you should not wear 



u 



MACARIA. 



;t, arid in future I do not wish to 3ee you with- 
out it. Remember this, my daughter. " 

" Father, it is wrong for me to wear it, un- 
less I expeeted to — " 

"I understand the whole matter perfectly. 
Now, Irene, let me hear no more about it. I 
wish you would learn that it is a child's duty 
to obey her parent. No more words, if you 
please, on the subject." 

She felt that this was not the hour for re- 
sistance, and wisely forbore : but he saw re- 
bellion written in'the calm, fixed eye, and read 
it in the curved lines of the full upper lip. 
iShe had entreated him to take her homeland, 
only the night before, renewed her pleadings. 
But. his refusal was positive, and now she went 
back to the hated school without a visible to- 
ken of regret. She saw her trunks consigned 
to the porter, listened to a brief conversation 

between Dr. and her father, and, after 

a hasty embrace and half-dozen words, watch- 
ed the tali, soldierly form re-enter the carriage. 
Then she went slowly up the broad stairway 
to her cell-like room, and with dry eyes un- 
packed her clothes, locked up the ring in her 
jewelry-box, and prepared to resume her 
studies. i 

The starry veil concealing the Holy of Holies 
of her Futurity had swayed just once, and, 
a? quickly swept back to its wonted folds: but 
in that one swift glance she saw, instead of 
hovering Cherubim, gaunt spectres, wo fill, ap- 
palling as Brimo. At some period of life all 
have this dim, transient, tantalizing glimpse 
of the inexorable Three, the mystic i\loirse, 
weaving with steely fingers the unyielding 
web of human destiny. Some grow cowardly, 
striving to wend their way behind or beyond 
:he out-spread net-work, tripping at last, in 
the midst of the snare ; and some, with set 
weth and rigid limbs, scorning to dodge the 
issue, grapple with the Sisters, resolved to 
wrench the cunning links asunder, trusting 
solely to the palladium of Will. Irene's little 
feet had become entangled in the fatal threads, 
and, with no thought of flight, she measured 
the length and breadth of the web, nervine 
herself to battle till the death. 



CHAPTER XI. 

A halo seems to linger around the haunts 
of Genius, as though the outer physical world 
shaped itself in likeness to the Ideal, and at 
the door of Mr. Clifton's studio crude, matter- 
of-fact utilitarians should have " put off their 
shoes from their feet " before treading pre- 
cincts sacred to Art. It was a long, lofty, 
narrow room, with a grate at one end and 
two windows at the other, opening on the 
street. The walls were stained of a pale olive 
hue, and the floor was covered wit': a carpet 
of green, embroidered with orange sheaves of 
y^heat. In color, the morocco-cushioned 



chairs and sofas matched it well, and from the 
broad, massive cornice over the windows- 
cornice representing writhing serpents m 
clusters of oak leaves— folds of golden- flowered 
broeatel hung stiff and stately to the floor. 
The ceiling rose dome-like in the centre,. and 
here a skylight poured down aflood of radi- 
ance on sunny days, and furnished a faint 
tattoo when rain-drops rattled over its panes. 
Crowded as the most ancient catacombs of 
Thehes was this afeliar, but with a trifle less 
ghostly tenants. Plaster statues loomed up in 
the corners, bronze busts and marble statuettes 
crowned mantle and sundry tables and wood- 
en pedestals ; quaint antique vases of china, 
crystal, alabaster, tcrra-cotta, and wood dark 
as ebony with age and polished like glass, 
stood here and there in a sort of well-estab- 
lished regular irregularity, as if snatched from 
the ashy shroud of Herculaneum, and put 
down hastily in the first convenient place. 
An Etruscan vase, time and lichen-stained, 
was made the base for an unframed piece of 
canvas, which leaned back against the wall; 
and another, whose handles were Medusa- 
heads, and before which, doubtless, some 
Italian maiden, in the palmy days of Rome, 
had stood twining the featherj r sprays of blos- 
soms whose intoxicating perfume might still 
linger in its marble depths, was now the des- 
ecrated receptacle of a meerschaum and 
riding-whip. The walls were tapestried with 
paintings of all, sizes, many richly framed, one 
or two covered with glass, and so-dark as to 
pass, without close examination, for a faithful 
representation of Pharaoh's ninth plague, ; 
some lying helplessly on the olive background, 
others leaning from the wall at an acute angle, 
looking threatening, as if fiery souls had en- 
tered and stirred up the figures — among which 
Dejiaiiij^!, bending forward with jealous rage 
to scan the lovely Iole. destined to prove the 
Ate of her house. Whei-e a few feet of pale 
green would have peered forth between largo 
pictures, crayon sketches were suspended *, 
and on the top of more than one carved frame 
perched stuffed birds of gorgeous tropical 
hues, a mimic aviary, motionless and silent as 
if Perseus had stepped in to a choral throng 
and held up the Gorgon's head. In the centre 
of the room, under the skylight, stood the 
artist's easel, holding an unfinished picture, 
and over its face was drawn a piece, of black 
silk. Farther off was another easel, smaller, 
and here was the dim outline of a female 
head traced by the fair, slender fingers of a. 
tyro. It was late October; a feeble flame 
flickered in the grate ; on the rug crouched an 
English spaniel, creeping closer as the heat 
died out and the waning light of day grad- 
ually receded, leaving the room dusky, save 
where a slanting line of yellow quivered down 
from the roof and gilt the folds of black silk 
At one of the windows stood Electra, half- 
concealed by the heavy green and gold dra- 



MACARIA. 



55 



per/, one dimpled hand clinging to the cur- 
tains, the other pressed against the panes, as 
she watched the forms hurrying along the 
street below. The gas was atready lighted 
on the crowded highways of the great city, 
and the lamp just beneath the window glared 
up like an electric eye. She was dressed in 
half-mourning, in sober gray, with a black 
crape collar at the throat. " There is no ex- 
quisite beauty without some strangeness in 
the proportions," savs Baron Verulam ; and 
the strangeness of Electra's countenance cer- 
tainly lay in the unusual width between the 
eyebrows. Whatever significance learned 
phrenologists or physiognomists attach to this 
peculiarity, at all events it imparted piquancy 
to the feature's that I am striving to show you 
by that flaming gaslight. Her watching at- 
titude denoted anxiety, and the bloom on her 
cheek had faded, leaving the whole face color- 
less. The lower lip was drawn under and 
held hard and tight by the pearly teeth, while 
the wide-st/ained eyes — 

Shilling e5 T es like antique jewels set in Parian statue- 
stone "— 

searched every face that passed the window. 
" That hope deferred maketh the heart sick," 
she stood there in attestation ; yet it was not 
passive sorrow printed on her countenance — 
rather the momentary, breathless exhaustion 
of a wild bird beating out its life in useless 
conflict with the unyielding wires of its cage. 
The dying hope, the despairing dread, in that 
fair young face beggars language, and as- the 
minutes crept by the words burst from her 
lips : " Will he never, never come !" 

For three weeks she had received no letter 
from Russell ; he was remarkably punctual, 
and this long, unprecedented interval filled 
her, at first, withT vague uneasiness, which 
grew finally into horrible foreboding. For 
ten days she had stood at this hour, at the 
same window, waiting for Mr. Clifton's return 
from the post-office. Ten times the words 
"No letter" had fallen, like 1 the voice of doom, 
on her throbbing heart. " No letter 1" — she 
heard it in feverish dreams; and fled continu- 
ally from its hissing. Only those who have 
known what it is to stake their hopes on a 
sheet of letter-paper ; to wake at dawn,' count- 
ing the hours, till the mail is due, working 
diligently to murder time till that hour rolls 
round ; to send a, messenger, in hot haste, to 
watch the clock, giving him just so many 
minutes to go and come-; to listen for the 
sound of returning steps, to meet him at the 
door with outstretched hands, and receive^ 
" no letter ;" only those who have writhed 
on this rack know the crushing thought with 
which they pressed cold hands to aching 
hearts ; " another twenty-four hours to be en- 
dured before the next mail comes in ; what 
shall I da till then?" The3e are the trials 
that plough wrinkles in smooth, girlish brows ; 



that harden the outline of soft rosy lips ; that 
sicken the weary soul, and teach women 
deception. Electra knew that Mr. Clifton 
watched her narrowly, suspiciously; and be- 
hind the mask of gay, rapid words, and ring- 
ing, mirthless laughter, she tried to hide her 
suffering. Ah! God pity all who live from 
day to day hanging upon the brittle thread of 
hope On this eleventh day suspense reached 
its acme, and time seemed to have locked its 
wheels to lengthen her torture. Mr. Clifton 
had been absent longer than usual. Most un- 
wittingly we are sometimes grand inquisitors, 
loitering by the way when waiting hearts are 
secretly, silently dropping blood. At last an 
omnibus stopped, and Mr. Clifton stepped 
out, with a bundle of papers under his arm. 
Closer pressed the pallid face against the glass; 
firmer grew the grasp of the icy fingers on the 
brocatel ; she Jbad no strength to meet him. 
He closed the door, hung up his hat, and 
looked into the studio ; no fire in the grate, 
no light in the gas-globes — everything cold 
and dark save the reflection on that front 
window. 

" Electra !" 

" I am here." 

" No letter." 

She stood motionless a moment ; but the 
brick walls opposite, the trees, the lamp-posts 
spun round, like maple leaves in an autumn 
gale. 

" My owlet ! why don't you have a light and 
some fire ?" 

He stumbled toward her, and put his hand 
on her shoulder, but she shrank away, and, 
lighting the gas, rang for coal. 

" There is something terrible the matter ; 
RusselF is either ill or dead. I must go to 
him." 

" Nonsense ! sheer nonsense ; he is busy, 
that is all. Your cousin has forgotten you. for 
the time ; after a while he will write. You 
are too exacting ; young men sometimes find 
constant, regular correspondence a bore ; a 
letter every week is too much to expect of 
him. Don't be- childish, Electra." 

As she noticed the frown on his face, a dark 
suspicion seized her : " perhaps he had inter- 
cepted her letters." Could he stoop to such 
an artifice ? 

" Electra, I would try to divert my mind. 
After all, his letters are short, and, I should 
judge,, rather unsatisfactory." 

" What do you know of the length or con- 
tents of his letters ?" . 

" I know they are brief, because I occasion- 
ally see them open in your hand ; I judge that 
they are unsatisfactory from the cloud on your 
face whenever they come. But I have no 
disposition to contest the value of his corres- 
pondence with you. That article on chiaro- 
scuro has arrived at last ; if you feel inclined, 
you can begin it at once." 

Chiaroscuro, forsooth 1 Mockery ! She had 



56 



MACARIA. 



quite chiaroscuro enough, and to spare ; but 
the smile on the artist's lips stung her, and, 
without a word, she took a seat at his side and 
began to read. Page after page was turned, 
technicalities slipped through her lips, but she 
understood as little of the essay as if the lan- 
guage had been Sanerit instead of Saxon ; for, 
like the deep, undying murmur of the restless 
sea, there rang in her ears, " No letter ! no 
letter !" As she finished the pamphlet and 
threw it on the table, her hands dropped list- 
lessly in her lap. Mr. Clifton was trying to 
read her countenance, and, impatient of his 
scrutiny, she rose to seek her own room. Just 
then the door-bell rang sharply ; she supposed 
it was some brother-artist comiDg to spend an 
hour, and turned to go. 

"Wait a minute; I want to ;" he paused, 

for at that instant she heard a voice which, 
even amid the din of Shinar, would have been 
unmistakable to her, and, breaking from him, 
she sprang to the threshold and met her cousin. 

" Oh, Russell ! I thought you had forgotten 
me." 

" What put such a ridiculous thought into 
your head ? My last letter must have prepared 
you to expect me." 

" What letter ? I have had none for three 
weeks." 

" One in which I mentioned Mr. Campbell's 
foreign appointment, and the position of secre- 
tary which he tendered me. Electra, let me 
speak to Mr.' Clifton." 

As he advanced and greeted the artist she 
heard a quick, snapping sound, and saw the 
beautiful Bohemian glass paper-cqtter her 
guardian had been using lying, shivered to 
atoms, on the rug. The fluted handle was 
crushed in his fingers, and drops of blood oozed 
over the left hand. Ere she could allude to it 
he thrust his hand into his pocket and desired 
Russell to be seated. 

" This is a pleasure totally unexpected. 
What is the appointment of which you 
spoke ?" 

" Mr. Campbell has been appointed Minister 
to , and sails next week. I am sur- 
prised that you have not heard of it from the 
public journals ; many of them have spoken of 
it, and warmly commended the selection. I 
accompany him in the capacity of secretary, 
and shall, meanwhile, prosecute my studies 
under his direction." 

The gray, glittering eyes of the artist sought 
those of his pupil, and for an instant hers 
quailed ; but, rallying, she looked fully, stead- 
fastly at him, resolved to play out the game, 
scorning to bare her heart to his scrutiny. 
She had fancied that Russell's affection had 
prompted this visit ; now it was apparent that 
he came to New York to take a steamer, not 
to see her ; to put the stormy Atlantic between 
them. The foaming draught which she had 
snatched to her lips so eagerly, so, joyfully, 
was turning to hemlock as she tasted ; and 



though she silently put the cup from her, it was 
done smilingly ; there were no wry faces, no 
gestures of disgust. 

" New York certainly agrees with you, Elec- 
tra ; you have grown and improved very much 
since you came North. I never saw such color 
in your cheeks before ; I can scarcely believe 
that you are the same fragile child I put into 
the stage one year ago. This reconciles me to 
having given you up to Mr. Clifton ; he is a 
better guardian than I could have been. But 
tell me something more about these new rela- 
tives you spoke of having found here." 

Mr. Clifton left the room, and the two sat 
side by side for an hour, talking of the gloomy 
past, the flitting present, the uncertain future. 
Leaning back in his chair, with his eyes fixed 
on the grate, Russell said, gravely : 

" There is now nothing to impede my suc- 
cessful career ; obstacles are rapidly melting 
away ; every day brings me nearer the goal I 
long since set before me. In two years aft 
farthest, perhaps earlier, I shall return and 
begin the practice of law. Once admitted, 1 
ask no more. Then, and not till then, I hope 
to save you from the necessity of labor ; in the 
interim, Mr. Clifton will prove a noble and 
generous friend ; and believe me, my cousin, 
the thought of leaving you so long is the only 
thing which will mar the pleasure of my Eu- 
ropean sojourn." 

The words were kind enough, but the tone 
was indifferent, and the countenance showed 
her that their approaching separation disqui- 
eted him little. She thought of the sleepless 
nights and wretched days she had passed 
waiting for a letter from that tall, reserved, 
cold cousin, and her features relaxed in a de- 
risive smile at the folly of her all-absorbing 
love. Raising his eyes accidentally he caught 
the smile, wondered what there was to call it 
forth in the plans which he had just laid before 
her, and, meeting his glance of surprise, she 
said, carelessly : 

" Are you not going to* see Irene before you 
sail V" 

His cheek flushed as he rose, straightened 
himself, and answered : 

"A strange question, truly, from one who 
knows me as well as you do. Call to see a 
girl whose father sent her from home solely to 
prevent her from associating with my family ? 
Through what sort of metamorphosis do you 
suppose that I have passed, that every spark 
of self-respect has been crushed out of me ?" 

"Her father's tyranny and selfishness can 
never nullify her noble and affectionate remem- 
brance of Aunt Amy in, the hour of her need." 

"And when I am able to repay her every 
cent we owe her, then, and not till then, I 
wish to see her. Things shall change ; mens 
cujusque is est quisque ; and the day will come 
when M r - Huntingdon may not think it de- 
grading for his daughter to acknowledge my 
acquaintance on the street." 



MACARIA. 



57 



A brief silence ensued, Russell drew on bis 
gloves, and finally said, hesitatingly : 

" Dr. Arnold told me sbe had suffered very 
much from a fall." 

" Yes ; for a long time she was. confined to 
her room." 

" Has she recovered entirely ?" 

"Entirely. She grows more beautiful day 
by day." 

Perhaps he wished to hear more concerning 
her, but she would not gratify him, and, soon 
after, he took up his hat. 

" Mr. Clifton has a spare room, Russell ; why 
can't you stay with us while you are in New 
York ?" 

"Thank you; but Mr. Campbell will expect 
me at the hotel ; I shall be needed, too, as he 
has many letters J;o write. I will see you to- 
morrow, and indeed every day while I remain 
in the city." 

" Then pay your visits in the morning, for I 
want to take your portrait with my own hands. 
Give me a sitting as early as possible." 

" Very well ; look for me to-morrow. Good- 
night." 

The week that followed was one of strange- 
ly-niingled sorrows and joys ; in after years it 
served as a prominent landmark to which she 
looked back and dated sad changes in her 
heart. Irene remained ignorant of Russell's 
presence in the city, and at last the day 
dawned on which the vessel was to sail. At 
the breakfast-table Mr. Clifton noticed the 
colorlessness of his pupil's face, but kindly ab- 
stained from any allusion to it. He saw that, 
contrary to habit, she drank a cup of coffee, 
and, arresting her arm as she requested his 
mother to give her a second, he said gently : 

"My dear child, where did you suddenly 
find such Turkish tastes ? I thought you dis- 
liked coffee ?" 

" I take it now as medicine. My head aches 
horribly." 

'iThen let me prescribe for you. We will 
go down to the steamer with Russell, and after- 
ward take a long ride to Greenwood, if you 
like.'' 

" He said he would call here at ten o'clock 
to bid us farewell." 

" N'imparte. The carriage will be ready, 
and we will accompany him." 

At the appointed hour they repaired to the 
vessel, and, looking at its huge sides, Electra 
coveted even a deck passage ; envied the 
meanest who hurried about, making all things 
ready for departure. The last bell rang ; 
people crowded down on the planks ; Russell 
hastened back to the carriage and took the 
nerveless gloved hand. 

" I will write as early as possible ; don't be 
uneasy about me ; no accident has ever hap- 
pened on this line. I am glad I leave you 
with such a friend as Mr. Clifton. Good-by, 
Cousin ; it will not be very long before we meet 
again." 



He kissed the passive lips, shook hands with 
the artist, and spranjr on hoard just as the 
planks were withdrawn. The vessel moved 
majestically on its way ; friends on shore waved 
handkerchiefs to friends departing, and hands 
were kissed and hats lifted, and then the 
crowd slowly dispersed — for steamers sail every 
week, and people become accustomed to the 
spectacle. But to-day it was freighted with 
the last fond hope of a deep and passionate 
nature ; and as Electra gazed on the line of 
foam whitening the dull surface of the water, 
the short-lived billows and deep hollows be- 
tween seemed newly-made graves, whose hun- 
gry jaws had closed for ever over the one 
bright lingering hope which she had hugged to 
her heart.. 

"Are you ready to go now?" asked Mr. 
Clifton. 

" Yes, ready, quite ready— for Greenwood." 

She spoke in a tone which had lost its liquid 
music, and with a wintry smile that fled over 
the ashy face, lending the features no light, no 
warmth. 

He tried to divert her .mind by calling at- 
tention to various things of interest, but the 
utter exhaustion of her position and the mono- 
syllabic character of her replies t soon dis- 
couraged him. Both felt relieved when the 
carriage stopped before the studio, and as he 
led her up the steps he said, affectionately ; 

" I am afraid my prescription has not cured 
your head." 

"No, sir; but I thank you most sincerely 
for the kind effort you have made to relieve 
me. I shall be better to-morrow. Good-by 
till then." 

" Stay, my child. Come into the studio, and 
let me read something light and pleasant to 
you." 

" Not for the universe ! The sight of a boob 
would give me brain-fever, I verily believe." 

She tried unavailingly to shake off his hand. 

" Why do you shrink from me, my pupil ?" 

" Because I am sick, weary ; and you watch 
me so, that I get restless and nervous. Do let 
me go 1 I want to sleep." 

An impatient stamp emphasized the words, 
and, as he relaxed his clasp of her fingers, she 
hastened to her room, and locked the door to 
prevent all intrusion. Taking off' her bonnet, 
she drew the heavy shawl closely around her 
shoulders and threw herself across the foot of 
the bed, burying her face in her hands lest 
the bare walls should prove witnesses of her 
agony. Six hours later she lay there still, 
with pale fingers pressed to burning, dry eye- 
lids. 

Oh, bigotry of human nature ! By what 
high commission, by what royal patent, do 
men and women essay to judge of fellow-men 
and sister-women by one stern inexorable 
standard, unyielding as the, measure of'Da- 
mastes ? The variety of emotional and intel- 
lectual types is even grater than the physical, 



58 



MACARIA. 



and, as the ages roll, we need other criteria. 
Who shall dare lay finder on fellow-creature 
and audaciously proclaim : " I have gone down 
among the volcanic chambers of this soul and 
groped in its adytum, amid the dust and ruins 
of its overturned altars and crumbling idols ; 
have fathomed its mysteries, and will tell you, 
by Infallible plummet, the depths thereof." 
There are sealed cells, where, veiled from 
scrutiny and sacred as Eleusinia, burns the 
God-given shechinah of the human soul. As 
the myriad shells that tessellate old ocean's 
pavements, as the vast army of innumerable 
clouds which eea-elessly shift their coloring 
and their forms at the presto of wizard-winds : 
as the leaves of the forest that bud and wane 
in the flush of summer or the howl of wintry 
storms, so we differ one from another. Lin- 
nseus and Jussien, with microscopic aid, have 
classified and christened ; but now and then 
new varieties startle modern savans, and so 
likewise new types -stalk among men and 
women, whose elements will neither be lopped 
off nor elongated to meet the established 
measure. 



CHAPTER XII. 

Once more the labors of a twelvemonth 
had been exhibited at the Academy of Design 
— some to be classed among things "that were 
not born to die ;" others to fall into nameless 
graves. Many, who had/worked faithfully, rec- 
ognizing the sacredness of their commission, 
had climbed higher in public estimation ; and 
a few, making mere pastime, or resting upon 
reputation already earned, had slipped back. 
Mr. Clifton was represented by an exquisite 
CEnone, and on the same wall, in a massive 
oval frame, hun? the first finished production 
of his pupil. For months after Russell's de- 
parture she sat before her easel, slowly filling 
up the outline sketched while his eyes watched 
her. She lingered over her work, loath to put 
the final stroke, calling continually upon' 
Memory to furnish the necessary details ; and 
frequently, in recalling transient smiles, the 
curl of his lip or bending of his brow, palette 
and brush would slip from her fingers, while 
she sat weaving the broken yet priceless 
threads of a hallowed Past. Application some- 
times trenches so closely upon genius as to be 
mistaken for it in its results, and where both 
are happily blended the bud of Art expands 
in immortal perfection. Electra spared no 
toil, and so it came to pass that the faultless 
head of her idol excited intense and universal 
admiration. In the catalogue it was briefly 
mentioned as No. 1 7 — a portrait ; first effort of 
a young female artist." Connoisseurs, who 
had committed themselves by extravagant 
praise, sneered at the announcement of the 
catalogue, and, after a few inquiries, blandly 



asserted that no tvro could have produced^ it ; 
that the master had wrought out its perfection, 
and generously allowed the pupil ^monopo- 
lize the encomiums. In vain Mr. Chfton dis- 
claimed the merit, and asserted that he had 
never touched the canvas ; that she had jeal- 
ously refused to let him aid her. Incredulous 
smiles and unmistakable motions of the head 
were the sole results of his expostulation. 
Little mercy has a critical world for novices, 
particularly those clad in woman's garments ; 
few helping hands are kindly stretched toward 
her trembling fingers, few strengthening words 
find her in her seclusion ; and when these last 
do come in friendly whispers, are they not 
hung up " as apples of gold in pictures of sil- 
ver " along the chequered walls of memory ? 
Cold glances generally greet her earliest 
works; they are handled suspiciously, the 
beauties are all extracted, set in a row, and 
labelled " plagiarisms ;" the residue, like 
dross in crucibles, is handed back as "original, 
and her undoubted property." Or, per- 
chance, the phraseology varies, and she 
hears " This book, this statue, this picture, 
is no unpractised woman's work ; we speak 
advisedly, and pronounce the faet that pen, 
or rasp, or chisel, or brush, belongs unmis- 
takably to a master — an experienced writer 
or veteran artist." It is this bent of hu- 
man nature to load with chaplets well-estab- 
lished favorites of fame, to '• whitewash" 
continually with praise, to jealously withhold 
the meed of beginners, rendering grudgingly 
" Cesar's things to Caesar," which tips many 
a pen with gall, and shadows noble pictures 
with unseemly clouds. Electra was indignant 
at the injustice meted 'out to her, and, as 
might have been expected, rebelled against 
the verdict. Very little consolation was de- 
rived from the argument by which her master 
strove to mollify her— that the incredulity of 
the critics was the highest eulogy that could 
have been pronounced upon her work. Some 
weeks after the close of the exhibition the 
CEnone was purchased and the portrait sent 
home. Electra placed it on the easel once 
more, and stood before it in rapt contempla- 
tion. Down from the arched roof flowed bil- 
lows of light, bathing her rounded form as in 
a sea of molten topaz, and kindling a start- 
ling, almost unearthly, beauty in the canvas. 
What mattered the brevity and paucity of 
Russell's letters now ? — what though three 
thousand miles of tempestuous sea roared and 
tossed between them ? — she had his untarnish- 
ed image in her heart, his life-like features 
ever before her. To this shrine she came 
continually, and laid thereon the offering of a 
love passionate and worshipping as ever took 
entire possession of a woman's heart. Cold- 
ness, silence, neglect, all were forgotten when 
she looked into the deep, beautiful eyes, and 
upon the broad, bold, matchless brow. 



MACARIA. 



59 



-• . Love i'r not love 

Which alters, when it alteration finds,' 
Orbcnd8 with the remover to remove ; 
Oh, no ! it is an ever-fixed mack, 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken." 

She had not the faintest hope that he would 
ever cherish a tenderer feeling for her ; but 
love is a plant of strange growth : now lifting 
its head feebly in rich, sunny spots, where 
every fostering influence is employed; and 
mw springing vigorous from barren, rocky 
cliffs, clinging in k*y crevices, defying every 
adverse element, sending its fibrous roots 
deeper and deeper in ungenial soil ; bending 
before the fierce breath of storms, only to 
erect itself more firmly ; spreading its delicate 
petals over the edges of eternal snow, self-sus- 
taining, invincible, immortal: A curious plant 
truly, and one which will not bear transplant- 
ing, as many a luckless experiment has proved. 
To-day, as Electra looked upon her labors, the 
coils of Time seemed to fall away ; the vista 
of Eternity opened before her, peopled with 
two forms, which on earth walked widely sepa- 
rate paths, and over her features stole a serene, 
lifted expression, as if, after painful scaling, 
she- had risen above the cloud-region and 
caught the first rays of perpetual sunshine. 

Time," like a weaver, made strange, dim, 
confused masses of woof and warf: but in 
Eternity the earthwork would be turned, and 
delicate tracery and marvellous coloring, di- 
vine gobelins, wouM come to light. Patience ! 
Away from the loom — let the shuttle fly ! 
'■ What I do thou knowest not now, but thou 
shalt know hereafter." Hence to thy barren 
fii'lds, and till them until the harvest. 

Mr, Clifton haVl watched her for some mo- 
monts, with lowering brow and jealous hatred 
of the picture. Approaching, he looked over 
her shoulder and asked : 

" How much longer do you intend to stand 
here ? Pygmalion was not more captivated 
by his ivory image than you are by your head. 
Were it Antinous or Apollo, I doubt whether 
your admiration would be enhanced." 

'• It is more than Antinous and Apollo," she 
answered, drawing the folds of silk over the 
portrait and turning toward him. 

11 Child, you are an idolatress." 

" Perhaps so ; but, at least, I am in a goodly 
company. Many bow down before shriues of 
their own handiwork ; some bring libations to 
Mammon, some to Fame, some to Ambition, 
some to Love. Nature intended us to kneel, 
which is preferable to standing, statue-like, 
exacting obeisance from others. Which is 
nobler ? But how am I an idolatress ? Shall 
I not prize the features of my cousin, my ear- 
liest friend and playmate ? Would you have 
me tear off and cast away the kindly emotions, 
the warm affections wherewith God clothed 
me, as badges of humanity ?" 

" By no means. But would you have a 
*«<:oad Ixion's wheel ?" 

" Aye, sir, when I arn weak enough to wor- 



ship a cloud. Mr. Clifton, I believe I have 
shaken hands with my rosy-cheeked, sunny- 
eyed, siren-charmed childhood ; and, to-day, 
standing here a woman, with few ties to bind 
me to my fellow-creatures, I hold this one 
jewelled link of the past in the hollow of my 
hand, and pet it Why not ? Oh, why not ? 
I am but seventeen ; this is alt that I have 
left to caress, and soon the waves of com- 
ing years will wash this, too, through my 
fingers. Would you, less merciful than time, 
snatch it from me prematurely ?" 

"T would, that in exchange I might heap 
your hands with untold treasure and joy." 

" I think I am less grasping, then, than you. 
Leave me the little I value ; I ask no more, 
wish no more, will have no more." 

She would have left him, but his hand fell 
heavily on hers. 

" Electra, I must speak to you ; hear me. 
You hug a phantom to your heart ; Russell 
does not and will not love you, other than as 
his cousin." 

The blood deserted her face, leaving a gray- 
ish pallor, but the eyes sought his steadily, and 
the rippling voice lost none of its rich ca- 
dence. 

" Except as his cousin, I do not expect Rus- 
sell to love me." 

" Oh, child ! you deceive yourself; this is a 
hope that you cling to with mad tenacity." 

She wrung her hand from his, and drew her 
figure to its utmost height. 

"You transcend your privilege, sir, when 
you attempt to catechise me thus. I deny the 
right of any on earth to put such questions to 
me — to make such assertions." 

" Electra, I did not mean to offend you, but 
the time has come when we must understand 
each other ." 

" You did not mean to offend me — well, let 
that p&ss ; another day we will discuss it, if 
you please," she interrupted, waving him off 
and turning toward the door. 

" No ; you must hear me now. I have a 
right to question you — the right of my long, 
silent, faithful love. You may deny it, but 
that matters -little ; be still, and listen. Did 
you suppose that I was simply a generous man, 
when I offered to guard and aid you — when I 
took you to my house, placed you in my moth- 
er's care, and lavished affection upon you ? 
Did you dream that I was disinterested in 
what I have done to encourage»and assist you ? 
Did you imagine I was merely an amiable 
philanthropist, anxious to help all in difficulty 
and sorrow ? If so, put away the hallucina- 
tion. Consider me no longer your friend ; 
look at me as I am, a jealous-and selfishly ex- 
acting man, who stands before you to-day and 
tfells you he loves you. Oh, Electra ! From 
the morning when you first showed me your 
sketches, you have been more than my life to 
me. An unconquerable love spraag up then, 
and it has grown with the months and years, 



60 



MACARIA. 



taking sole possession of a heart which never 
bowed before any other woman. Every hope 
I have centres in you. I have not deceived 
myself; I knew that you loved Russell. Nay, 
don't deny it ; I have watched you too long not 
to probe your mask. I knew that he had your 
girlish love, but I waited, and hoped my de- 
votion would win you. You were but a child, 
and I thought the depth and fervor of my 
affection would out-weigh a childish fanc} r . 
When he came here, I saw that the old fasci- 
nation still kept its hold upon you ; but I saw, 
too, what you saw quite as plainly — that in 
Russell Aubrey's heart there is room for noth- 
ing but ambition. I knew how you suffered, 
and I believed it was the death-struggle of 
your love. But instead, I find you, day by 
day, before that easel — oblivious of me, of 
everything but the features you cling to so 
insanely. Do you wonder that I hate that 
portrait ? Do you wonder that I am growing 
desperate ? Where is your womanly pride, 
that you lavish your love on one totally indif- 
ferent to you '? Strange paradox that you 
are 1 — proud, passionate, exacting, and yet 
clinging madly to a memory. Have you no 
mercy, that you doom me to live for ever on 
the rack ? Shall yonder piece of canvas al- 
ways stand between your heart and mine ? If 
he loved you in return, I could bear it better ; 
but as it is, I am tortured beyond all endurance. 
I have spent nearly three years in trying to 
gain your heart ; all other aims have faded be- 
fore this one absorbing love. To-day I lay it 
at your feet, and ask if I have not earned 
some reward. Oh, Electra! have you no 
gratitude ?" 

A scarlet spot burned on his pale cheeks, and 
die mild liquid gray eyes sparkled like stars. 

It was no startling revelation to her ; long 
before she had seen that this hour of trial must 
come to both, and now, despite her resolution, 
his words unnerved' her. She dared not look 
at him ; the hollow voice told her too well what 
effect this excitement was working on his 
feeble frame. 

" Oh, Mr. Clifton ! I am grateful ; God, who 
sees my heart, knows that I am. No child 
ever loved a parent better than I love you." 

" It is not filial affection that I ask of you 
now. I beg you to lay your dear hands in 
mine, and promise to be my wife. I ask this 
of yon in the name of my devotion. You gave 
yourself to me j*ears ago, and to-day I beseech 
you to seal the compact by a final promise. 
Electra, beware how you answer ! Bridge the 
gulf between us. Give me your hand." 

He' stretched out his hand, but she drew 
back a step. 

" God forgive me ! but I have no such love 
for you." ' 

A ghastly smile broke over his face, and, 
after a moment, the snowy handkerchief he 
passed across his lips was stained with ruby 
streaks. 



" I know that, and I know the reason. But, 
once more 1 ask you to give me your hand. 
Electra, dearest, do not, I pray you, refuse nie 
this. Oh, child ! give me 'your hand, and in 
time you will learn to love me." 

He seized. her fingers, and stooped bis head 
till the silky brown' beard mingled with her 
raven locks. 

" Mr. Clifton, to marry without love would 
be a grievous sin; I dare not. We would 
hate each other. Life would be a curse to 
both, and death a welcome release. Could you 
endure a wife who accepted your hand from 
gratitude and pity? Oh ! such a relationship 
would be horrible beyond all degree. I shud- 
der at the thought." 

" But you would learn to love me." 

The summer wind shook the window-cur- 
tains and rustled the folds of black silk till 
the drapery slid from the portrait and left it 
fully exposed to view. She gave one quick 
glance at the beloved countenance, and, fall- 
ing on her knees before the easel, raised her 
clasped hands passionately, and exclaimed: 

" Impossible ! impossible ! You have, said 
that he is my idol, and. you make no mistake. 
He fills my heart so entirely, that I have 
nothing but reverence and gratitude- to offer 
you. I am young, I know, and you think that 
this is a girlish fancy which will fade with com- 
ing years. I tell you, sir, this love has become - 
part of me. When he went to Europe I said, 
' I will tear it out of my heart, and forget him ; 
I will give every thought to my noble Art.' 
Faithfully I strove to do so ; but a little moun- 
tain-stream once merged in the pathless ocean,' 
might as well struggle to gather back its tiny 
wavelets and return to its pebbly channel. I 
am proud ; it humiliates me to acknowledge 
all this ; and nothing on earth could wring it 
from me but my desire to convince you that 
it is utterly impossible I can ever love you as 
you ask. 

'• I lift my heavy heart np solemnly. 
As once Electra her sepulchral urn, 
And. looking in thine eyes, I overturn 
The ashes at thy feet. Behold, unci see 
What a great heap of grief lay hid in me, 
And how the red wild sparkles dimly burn 
Through the ashen grayness. If thy foot in scorn 
Could tread them out to darkness utterly. 
It might be well, perhaps." 

But you can not take Russell's place. None 
can come between him and my heart." 

The yellow light dripped down on her 
purplish hair, crystalizing into a nimbus, a# 
she knelt before the portrait, lifting her hands, 
like saints in medieval pictures, fleeing from 
martyrdom. Shame dyed her cheeks, but a 
desperate, reckless triumph flashed in the up- 
raised eyes, revealing fully the aversion which 
his suit had inspired. Unfortunate, deplora- 
ble as was her love for a cousin, it seemed 
for the moment to glorify her, and Mr. Clif- 
ton put his hand over his eyes to shut out the 
vision. 



MACARIA. 



61 



" Electra Grey, you are unwomanly in your 
unsought love.' - 

She turned her head, and, looking over her 
shoulder at him, smiledjderisively. 

" Unwomanly ! If so, made such by your 
unmanliness. Unwomanly! 1 deny it. Which 
U most womanly — to yield to the merciless 
importunity of one to whom I am indebted ; 
to give my hand to him whose touch chills the 
blood in my veins ; to promise to become his 
wife when the bare thought sickens my soul ; 
to dare to stand before God's altar and take 
false vows on my lips, or to tell the simple 
truth ? to shield myself from his entreaties, 
under the holy mantle-of a deep, undying love 
for another V I volunteered no confession; you 
taxed and taunted me with my affection. * Sir, 
it should have made me sacred in your eyes. 
Unwomanly ! Were you more manly, I had 
never shocked your maudlin sentiments of 
propriety." 

■•And this is my reward for all the tender- 
ness I have lavished on you ! When I stooped 
to beg your hand, to be repulsed with scorn 
and loathing. To spend three years in faith- 
ful effort to win your heart, and reap 

contempt, hatred." 

Staggering back, he sank into his arm-chair 
and closed his eyes a moment, then continued : 

11 If it were possible that you could be hap- 
py, 1 would not complain ; but there is no 
dope of that. You might as well kneel to my 
marble Hermes yonder as to Russell. Stranger 
infatuation never possessed a woman." 

■' I am not blind ; I neither ask nor expect 
anything from him. Unless you betray my 
confidence he will never suspect the truth, 
and I would sooner endure the tortures of 
Torquemada than that he should know it. 
But by what process will you demonstrate 
that, since a rare and royal banquet is for ever 
shut beyond my reach, it is my duty to sit 
down in the dust and try to content myself 
with husks V Sir, my God never intended me 
to live on crumbs, and I will not. I will be 
true to my heart ; if the vast host of my fel- 
low-creatures should pass away from earth, I 
will stand alone and conquer solitude as best 
I may. Not ' one jot, not one tittle ' of my 
nature will 1 yield for companionship. No 
mess of pottage will I have, in lieu of my 
birthright. All or none ! Marriage is holy ; 
God, in his wisdom, instituted it with the seal 
of love ; but its desecration with counterfeits 
makes Tophets, Golgothas, instead of Edeiis. 
1 know what 1 have to expect ; on my own 
head be my future. If quarrel there be, it is 
betwe°en Fate and me ; you have no concern in 
it." 

" I would not have troubled you long, Elec- 
tro. It was because I knew that my life must 
be short at best that I urged you to gild the 
brief period with the light of your love. I 
would not have bound you always to me ; and, 
when Uasked your hand a few minutes since, 



I knew that death would soon sever the tie and 
set you free. 'Let this suffice to palliate my 
' unmanly' pleading. I have but one request 
to make of you now, and, weak as it may seem, 
1 beg of you not to deny me. You are pre- 
paring to leave my house ; this I know ; 1 see 
it in your face, and the thought is harrowing to 
me. Electra, remain under my roof while I 
live ; let me see you every day, here, in my 
house. If not as my wife, stay as my friend, 
my pupil, my child. I little thought I could 
ever condescend to ask this of any one ; but 
the dread of separation bows me down. Oh, 
child 1 I will not claim you long." 

She stood up before him with the portrait 
in her arms, resolved, then and there, to leave 
him for ever. But the ghastly pallor of his 
face, the scarlet thread oozing over his lips 
and saturating the handkerchief with which 
he strove to staunch it, told her that the re- 
quest was preferred on no idle pretext. In 
swift review, his kindness, generosity and un- 
wavering affection passed before her, and the 
mingled accents of remorse and compassion 
whispered : " Pay your debt of gratitude by 
sacrificing your heart. If you can make him 
happy, you owe it to him." 

Without a word she passed him and went 
up to her own room. It was an hour of sore 
temptation for one so young and inexperienced ; 
but, placing the portrait on the low mantle, 
she crossed her arms before it and tried to lay 
matters in the scale. On one side, years of 
devotion, the circumstances of the artist's life, 
his mother's infirmity, confining her sometimes 
to her bed, often to her room, preventing her 
from nursing him ; the weary season of his 
tedious illness, the last hours gloomy and mis- 
erable, unsoothed by gentle words or tender 
offices. On the other, stern adherence, un- 
erring obedience to the dictates of her heart, 
the necessary self-abnegation, the patient at- 
tendance at the couch of prolonged suffering, 
and entire devotion to him. For a time the 
scales balanced ; she could not conquer her re- 
pugnance to remaining in his home ; then a 
grave and its monumental stone were added, 
and, with a groan, she dropped her f.ice in her 
hands. At the expiration of two hours she 
locked the portrait from view, and went slow- 
ly back to the studio. The house was very 
quiet ; the ticking of the clock was distinctly 
heard as she pushed the door open and glided 
in. Involuntarily she drew a long, deep 
breath, for it was like leaving freedom at the 
threshold and taking upon herself" grievous' 
bonds. The arm-chair was vacant, but the 
artist lay on one of the sofas, with his face 
toward tne wall, and on a small table beside him 
stood' a crystal bowl of cracked ice, a stained 
wine-glass, and vial containing some dark 
purple liquid. Approaching soitly, she scan- 
ned the countenance, and teara gathered in 
her eyes as she saw how thin and hollow were 
the now flushed cheeks ; how the lips writhed 



62 



MACARIA. 



now and then, as if striving to suppress bitter 
■word?. The beautiful brown hair was all 
tossed back, and she noticed that along the 
forehead clustered many silver threads. One 
hand was thrust within his vest, the other 
thrown up over the head, grasping a fresh 
handkerchief. Softly she took this hand, and, 
bending over him, said, in a low, thrilling 
tone : 

" Mr. Clifton, I was passionate and hasty, 
and said some unkind things which I would 
fain recall, and for which I beg your pardon. 
I thank you for the honor you would have 
conferred on me, and for the unmerited love 
you offered me. Unless it were in my power to 
return that love, it would be sinful to give you 
my hand ; but, since you desire it so earnestly, 
I will promise to stay by your side, to do what 
1 can to make you happy; to prove, by my de- 
votion, that I am not insensible to all your 
kindness, that I am very grateful for the affec- 
tion you have given me. 1 come and offer 
you this, as a poor return for all that 1 owe 
you ; it is the most my conscience will permit 
me to tender. My friend, my master, will you 
accept it, and forgive the pain and sorrow 1 
have caused you V" 

He felt her tears falling on his fingers, and, 
for a moment, neither spoke ; then he drew 
the hands to his lips and kissed them tenderly. 

" Thank you, Eleetrai I know it is a sac- 
rifice on your part, but I am selfish enough to 
accept it. Heaven bless you, my pupil." 

" in future we will not allude to this day of 
trial — let it be forgot ton ; ' let the dead past 
bury its dead.' I will have no resurrected 
phantoms. And now, sir, you must not allow 
this slight hemorrhage to depress you. In a 
few days you will be stronger, quite able to 
examine and find fault with my work. Shall 
1 send a note to Dr. LeRoy, asking him to call 
and see you this evening V" 

"He has just left me. Say nothing of the 
hemorrhage to mother ; it would only distress 
her." 

He released her hards, and, stooping'over 
his pillow, she smoothed the disordered hair, 
and for the first time pressed her lips to his 
forehead. 

Thus she bowed her neck to the yoke, and, 
•with a fixed, unalterable will, entered ou the 
long, dreary ministry to which she felt that 
duty called. 

We shade our eyes, and peer into the dim 
Unknown, striving to sea whither we are tend- 
ing, and a sudden turn in the way, a sharp 
angle, brings us i'ace to lace with huge, frown- 
ing obstacles, that grimly bar all progress in 
the direction to which our inclinations point. 
Strange devious paths stretch out at our feet, 
baffling all our wise conjectures, setting at de- 
fiance all our plans and prudential machina- 
tions. From breath to' breath, from step to 
step, from hour to hour, is man's sole empire. 
" Boast not thyself of to-morrow." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

" Cities give not the human senses^ room 
enough," says a latter-day seer, and Electro 
Grey°sometimes felt that her heart and soul 
were in the stocks, or ironed down to a stake, 
leaving only a periphery of a few feet. Brick 
walls and paving-stones uttered no kindly 
message ; hurrying foot-passengers and crowd- 
ed omnibuses told of the din and strife of li/e, 
but whispered no word of cheer, no lessen of 
uncomplaining fortitude, no exhortation to be 
strong and patient. S!}e saw colossal Selfish- 
ness crushing along its Juggernautie w«,y ; 
Wealth jostled Poverty into the gutter, and 
Beauty picked a dainty crossing to give a, wi<i>> 
berth to Deformity ; hard, stern, granite-like 
faces passed her windovv day by day ; prinoeiv 
equipages, with haughty, supercilious ocos- 
pants, rolled along the street, and bridal trains 
and funeral processions mingled in their wind- 
ings. If man be, indeed, a " microcosm." to 
what shall I liken that great city wherein 
dwelt the painter and his pupil 'I Isis, 'i.-.- 
great nursing-mother — genial Nature, teeming 
with soothing influences, and missals of k.y 
and strength, seemed sepulchred — and in h-jr 
place, a flint-featured, miserly, and most in- 
tolerable step-mother frowned upon the disk- 
less young artist. City life? City starvation, 
rather, she found it, until a long and painful 
apprenticeship taught her the priceless alche- 
my whereby smiling Plenty beamed upon her. 
Beared on the outskirts of a country-town, sh ■_■ 
longed for the freedom and solitude of the old 
pine-woods at home, and sickened &', the 
thought of spending her life within walls of 
brick and mortar. She had selected ac attic 
room, with dormer windows looking eastward, 
and here she daily watched the pule g~ay 
dawn struggle with the vapors and shadows of 
night. " Quiet fields of crimson cirri," fk*.\ - :y 
masses of restless, glittering cumuli, or ir.<: 
sweep and rush of "inky-fringed," lowering 
rain-clouds, alike charmed her. Long beu;:v 
the servants stirred below she was seated i.~ 
the window, noting the waning shimmer tf 
the Morning-Star as the waves of light roli<-;d 
up and crested the horizon, whitening the 
deep dark blue with their sparkling spray. 
The peculiarities of each sunrise and Bun&et, 
were jotted down assiduously : 

"Cloud-walls of the morning's gray 

Faced with amber column, 
Crowned with crimson cupola 

From a sunset solemn,'-' 

were sketched with great care, and put abide 
for future use ; and it rarely happened that, on 
a dull, rainy morning, she came down to break- 
fast looking other than moody and disappoint- 
ed, as though her rights had been infringed, 
her privileges curtailed. Constituted with 
keen susceptibility to impressions of beauty or 
sublimity, whether physical, moral, or intellec- 
tual, Nature intended her as a thing for nee- 



MACARIA. 



63 



shine and holidays, as a darling to be petted ; 
but Fate shook her head, and, with a grimace, 
set the tender young soul on a bleak exposure, 
to be hardened and invigorated. 

"With the characteristic fitfulness of con- 
sumption, Mr.' Clifton rallied, and, for a time, 
6eemed almost restored ; but at the approach 
of winter the cough increased, and dangerous 
symptoms returned. Several months after the 
rejection of his suit, to which no allusion had 
ever been made, Electra sat before her easel, 
absorbed in work, while the master slowly 
walked up and down the studio, wrapped in a 
warm plaid shawl. Occasionally he paused 
and looked over her shoulder, then resumed 
his pace, offering no comment. It was not an 
unusual occurrence for them to pass entire 
mornings together without exchanging a word, 
and to-day the silence had lasted more than 
an hour. A prolonged fit of coughing finally 
arrested her attention, and, glancing up, she 
met his sad gaze. 

" This is unpropitious weather for you, Mr. 
Clifton." 

" Yes, this winter offers a dreary prospect." 

" There is the doctor now, passing the win- 
dow. I will come back as soon as his visit is 
over." She rose hastily to quit the room, but 
he detained her. 

'• Do not go — I wish you to remain and fin- 
ish your work." 

Dr. LeRoy entered, and, after questioning 
bis patient, stood on the rug, warming his 
fingers. 

'• The fact is, my dear fellow, this is not the 
place for you. I sent you South four years 
ago nearly, and saved your life ; and, as I told 
you last week, you will have to take that same 
prescription again. It is folly to talk of spend- 
ing the winter here. I can do nothing for 
you. You must go to Cuba or to Italy. It. is 
of no use to try to deceive you, Harry ; you 
know, just as well as I do, that your case is get- 
ting desperate, and change of climate is your 
last hope.. I have told you all this before." 
• Electra laid down her pallette, and listened 
for the answer. 

" I am sorry you think so, but I can't leave 
New York." 

" Why not ?'' 

" For various good reasons." 

" My dear fellow, is your life of any value?" 

'• A strange question, truly." 

" If it is, quit New York in thirty-six hours ; 
if not, remain, 'for various good reasons.' 
Send to my office for an anodyne. Better 
take my advice. Good-day." 

Passing by the easel, he whispered : 

"Use your influence; send him South." And 
then the two were again alone. 

Resting her chin in her hands, she raised her 
eyes and said : 

" Why do you not follow the doctor's ad- 
vice V A winter South might restore you." 

He drew near, and, leaning his folded arms 



on the top of the easel, looked down into her 
face. 

" There is only one condition upon which I 
could consent to go; that is in your hands. 
Will you accompany me ?" 

She understood it all in an instant, saw die 
new form in which the trial presented itself, 
and her soul sickened. 

" Mr. Clifton, if I were } r our sister, or your 
child, I would gladly go ; but, as your pupil, I 
can not." 

" As Electra Grey r , certainly not ; but, a- 
Electra Clifton, you could go." 

" Electra Grey will be carved on my tomb- 
stone." » 

" Then you decide my fate. I remain, and 
wait the slow approach of death." 

'• No, before just Heaven ! I take no such 
responsibility, nor shall you thrust it on nit-. 
You are a man, and must decide your destiny 
for yourself; I am a poor girl, having no claim 
upon, no power over you. It is your duty to 
preserve the life which God gave you, in the 
way prescribed by your physician, and I have 
no voice in the matter. It is your duty to go 
South, and it will be both weak and wicked to 
remain here under existing circumstances." 

" My life is centred in you ; it is worthier, 
nay, a burden, separated from you." 

;i Your life should be centred in something 
nobler, better.; in your duty, in your profes- 
sion. It is suicidal to fold your hands listless- 
ly and look to me, as you do." 

"All these things have I tried, and I am 
weary of their hollowness, weary of life and 
the world. So long as I have your face here, 
I care not to cross my own threshold till friend- 
ly hands bear me out to my quiet resting - 
place under the willows of Greenwood. Elec- 
tra, my darling, think me weak if you will, but 
bear with me a little while longer, and then 
this, my shadow, shall flit from your young 
heart, leaving not even a memory to haunt 
you. Be patient 1 I will soon pass away, U> 
another, a more peaceful, blessed sphere." 

A melancholy smile lighted his fair waxen 
features, as waning, sickly sunshine in an au- 
tumn evening flickers over sculptured marble 
in a silent chuch-yard. 

H%w she compassionated his great weak- 
ness as he wiped away the moisture which. 
even on that cold day, glistened on his tore - 
head. 

" Oh 1 I beseech you to go to Cuba. Go, 
and get strong once more." 

•' Nothing will ever help me now. Sunnv 
skies and soft breezes bring no healing for 
me. I want to die here, in my home, where 
your hands will be about me; not among 
strangers, in Cuba or "Italy." 

He turned to the fire, and, springing up, she 
left the room. The solemn silence of the 
house oppressed her ; she put on her thickest 
wrappings, and took the street leading to the 
nearest park. A steel-gray sky, with slcwlv- 



Si 



MACAJRIA. 



trailing clouds, looked down on her, and the 
keen, chilly wind wafted a fine snow-powder 
in her face as she pressed against it. The 
trees were bare, and the sere grass grew hoary 
as the first snow-flakes of the season came 
down softly and shroud-like. The walks were 
deserted, save where a hurrying form crossed 
from street to street, homeward-bound ; and 
Electra passed slowly ' along, absorbed in 
thoughts colder than the frosting' that gath- 
ered on shawl and bonnet. The face and figure 
of the painter glided spectrally before her at 
every step, and a mighty temptation follow- 
ed at its heels. Why not strangle her heart ? 
Why not marry him and bear his name, if, 
thereby, she could make his i'ew remaining 
months of existence happy, and, by accompa- 
nying him South, prolong his life even for a 
few weeks ? , She shuddered at the suggest-' 
ion, it would be such a miserable lot. But 
then the question arose : " Who told you that 
your life was given for happiness V I>o you 
imagine your Maker set you o;i earth solely 
to hunt your own enjoyment ? Suppose duty 
costs you pain and struggles; is it any the less 
duty I .Nay, is it not all the more urgent 
duty?" She knew that she could return to 
the artist, and, with one brief sentence, pour 
the chrism of joy over his suffering sou! ; and 
her great compassion, mild-eyed, soft-lipped, 
tender-hearted, whispered : Why not V why 
not ? 

■' Nature owns no man who is not a martyr 
withal." If this dictum possessed any value, 
did it not point to her mission V She could 
no longer shut her eyes and stumble on, for 
right hi her path stood an awful form, with 
austere lip and tiery eye, demanding a parley, 
defying all escape.; and, calmly, she stpod face 
to face with her Sphinx, considering her rid- 
dle. A young, motherless girl, without the 
girding of a holy religion, a free, untamed soul, 
yielding allegiance to no creed, hearkening 
only to the dictates of her tempestuous nature, 
now confronting the most ancient immemorial 
Destroyer who haunts the highways of society. 
Self-immolation, or a poisoning of the spring 
of joy in the heart of a fellow-creature ? Was 
duty a Moloch, clasping its scorching arms 
around its devotees '?— a Juggernaut, indeed, 
whose iron wheels drank the lite-blood of its 
victims V " Will you see your benefactor sink 
swiftly into an early grave, and, standing by 
with folded arms, persuade yourself that it. is 
not your duty to attempt to save him at all 
hazards ? Can nothing less than love ever 
sanction marriage V" Such was the riddle 
hurled before her, and, as she pondered, the 
floodgates of her sorrow and jealousy were 
once more lifted — the wash and roar of bitter 
waters drowned, tor a time, the accents of con- 
science and of reason. 

But out of these fierce asphaltic waves arose, 
Aphrodite-like, a pure, radiant, heavenly form 
— a child of all climes, conditions, tod ages — 



an immortal evangel; and, as the piercing, 
sunny eyes of womanly intuition looked upon 
the riddle, the stony lineaments of the Sphinx 
melted into air. It womanly eyes rest on this 
pace the answer need not be traced here, 
for°in every true woman's heart the answer 
is to be found engraved in God's own charac- 
ters ; and, however the rubbish of ignoble mo- 
tives may accumulate, it can never obliterate 
the divine handwriting. In. the holiest oratory 
of her nature is enshrined an infallible talis- 
man, an asgis, and she requires no other pano- 
ply in the long struggle incident to trials such 
as shook the stormy .-iouI of the young artist 
Faster fell the snow-Hakes, cresting the waves 
of hair like foam, and, setting her teeth firmly, 
as if thereby locking the door against all com- 
passionating compunctions, Electra left the 
park and turned into a cross-street, on which 
was situated an establishment where bouquets 
were kept for sale. The assortment was 
meagre at that late hour, but she selected a 
tiny bunch of delicate, fragrant, hothouse 
blossoms, and, shielding them with her shawl, 
hastened home. The studio was brilliant with 
gas-glare and warm with the breath of anthra- 
cite, but an aspect of dreariness, silence, and 
sorrow predominated. The figures in the 
pictures shrank back in their frames, the stat- 
ues gleamed mournfully white and cold, and 
the emaciated form and face of the painter, 
thrown into bold relief by the dark green 
lining of the easy-chair, seemed to belong to 
realms of death rather, than life. On the edge 
of the low scroll-sculptured mantle, supported 
at each corner by caryatides, perched a large 
tame gray owl, with clipped wings folded, 
and wide, solemn, oracular eyes fastened. on 
the countenance of its beloved master. A 
bronze clock, of exquisite workmanship, oc- 
cupied the centre, and represented the Angel 
of Revelations "swearing by Him that liveth 
for ever and ever, that Time should be no longer." 
One hand held the open book, the other a 
hammer, which gave out the hours with clear 
metallic ruig ; and along the base, just under- 
neath the silver-dial-plate, were carved, in 
German characters, the words of Richter : 
"And an immeasurably extended hammer was 
to strike the last hour of Time, and shiver the 
universe asunder." . 

With swift, noiseless steps Electra came to 
the red grate, and, after a moment, drew an 
ottoman close to the easy-chair. Ptrhaps its 
occupant slept ; perchance he wandered, with 
closed eyes, far down among the sombre, dank 
crypts of memory. She laid her cool fingers 
on his hand, and held the bouquet before him. 

" My dear sir, here are your flowers ; they 
are not as pretty as usual, but sweet enough 
to atone for lack of beauty." 

He fingered them caressingly, laid them 
against his hollow cheeks, and hid his lips 
among their fragrant petals, but the starry 
eyes were fixed on the features of the pupil. 



MACARIA. 



bO 



" It is bitter weather out ; did you brave it 
for these ? Thank you, but don't expose your- 
self so in future. Two invalids in a house are 
quite enough. You are snow-crowned, little 
one ; do you know it ? The frosting gleams 
right royally on that black hair of yours. Nay, 
child, don't brush it off; like all lovely things 
it fades rapidly, melts away like the dreams 
that flutter around a "boy in the .witchery of a 
long, still, sunny summer day." 

His thin hand nestled in her shining hair, 
and she submitted to the touch in silence. 

"My dove soared away from this dreary 
ark, and bathed her silver wings in the free 
air of heaven ; returning but to bring me some 
grateful memorial, an olive-branch, where- 
with to deck this gloomy ark of mine. Next 
time she will soar farther, and find a more 
tempting perch, and gladden Noah's eyes no 
more." 

" If so, it will be because the high and dry 
land of God beckons her ; and when the del- 
uge is ended, she will be needed no longer." 

" For, then, Electra, Noah's haven of rest 
will be the fair still fields of Eternity." 

In this semi-metaphoric strain he often in- 
dulged of late, but she felt little inclination to 
humor the whim, and, interlacing her slight 
fingens, she answered, half-impatiently : 

'• Your simile is all awry, sir. Most unfort- 
unately, I have nothing dove-like in my na- 
ture." 

" Originally you had, but your character 
has been warped." 

" By what, or whom ?" 

" Primarily, by unhappy extraneous circum- 
stances, influences if you will, which contribut- 
ed to a diseased development of two passions, 
, that now preponderate over all other elements 
of your character." 

'• A diagnosis which I will not accept." 
" A true one, nevertheless, my child." 
" Possibly ; but we will waive a discussion 
just now. I am, and always intend to be, true 
to the nature which God gave me." 

" A dangerous dogma that. Electra, how 
do you know that the ' nature ' you fondle and 
plume yourself upon emanated from your 
Maker V" 

" How do you know, sir, that God intended 
that willows should droop and trail their slen- 
der boughs earthward, while poplars, like 
granite shafts, shoot up, lifting their silver- 
shimmering leaflets ever to the clouds ? Who 
fingered their germs and directed their 
course V" 

" The analogy will not hold between the 
vegetable kingdom and the moral and intel- 
lectual spheres, Men and women are not cast 
in particular moulds, bound by iron laws, and 

labelled, like plants or brutes, Genus , 

Species . . Moreover, to man alone was 

given free agency, even to the extent of 
uprooting, crushing entirely the original im- 
pulses implanted by God in the human heart 
5 



to act as motive power. I have known people 
insane enough to pluck out the wheat, and 
culture, into rank luxuriance, the tares in their 
nature. Child, do you ever look ahead to the 
coming harvest-time ?" 

" If I do, it contents me to know that each 
soul binds up its own sheaves." 

" No ; angels are reapers, and make up the 
account for the Lord of the harvest." 

" I don't believe that. No third party has 
any voice in that last, long reckoning. God 
and the creature only see the balance-sheet." 
She rose, and, leaning against the mantle, 
put out her hand* to caress the solemn-eyed 
solitary pet of the studio. How he came to be 
the solace and companion of the artist she* had 
never been told, but knew that a strange fel- 
lowship linked the gray old favorite with the 
master, and wondered at the almost human 
expression with which it sometimes looked 
from its lofty pedestal upon the languid move- 
ments of the painter. " Munin " was the 
name he ever recognized and answered to, 
and, when she one day repeated it to herself, 
puzzling over its significance, Mr. Clifton told 
her that it meant " memory," in Scandinavian 
lore, and belonged to one of the favorite birds 
of Odin. It was one of his many strange 
whims, fostered by life-long researches among 
the mythologies of the Old World ; and Electra 
struggled to overcome the undefinable sensa- 
tion of awe and repulsion which crept over 
her whenever she met that fascinating stare 
fixed upon her. As little love had the bird for 
her, and, though occasionally it settled upon 
the cross-beam of her easel and watched the 
slow motion of her brush, they seemed to 
shrink from each other. Now, as her soft hand 
touched his feathers, they rumpled, bristled, 
and he flitted to the artist's knee, uttering a 
hoarse, prolonged, most melancholy note, as 
the master caressed him. 

" Why are not you and Munin better 
friends V" 

" Because I am not wise enough, or evil-bod- 
ing in appearance, or sufficiently owlish to 
suit him, I suppose. He chills my blood some- 
times, when 1 come here, in twilight, before 
the gas is lighted. I would almost as soon 
confront Medusa." 

She took from, the curious oval mosaic table 
a new book containing her mark, and reseated 
herself. As she did so, Munin flapped his 
dusky wings and disappeared through the door 
opening into the hall, and, shading her face 
with one hand, she read aloud a passage 
heavily underlined by a pencil. 

u l But this poor, miserable Me ! Is this, then, 
all the book I have got to read about God in ?' 
Yes, truly so. No other book, nor fragment; 
of book, than that will you ever find — no vel- 
vet-bound missal, nor frankincensed manu- 
script ; nothing hieroglyphic nor cuneiform ; 
papyrus and' pyramid are alike silent on this 
matter; nothing in the clouds above, nor in the 



MAC ARIA. 



earth beneath. That flesh-bound volume is 
the only revelation that is, that was, or that 
can be. In that is the image of God painted ; 
in that is the law of God written ; in that is 
the promise of God revealed. Know thyself ; 
for through thyself only thou canst know God. 
Through the glass darkly ; but, except through 
the glass, in no wise. A tremulous crystal, 
waved as water, poured out upon the ground ; 
you may defile it, despise it, pollute it at your 
pleasure, and at your peril ; for on tne peace 
of those weak waves must all the heaven you 
shall ever gain be first seen, and through such 
purity as you can win for those dark waves 
must all the light of the risen Sun of Bright- 
ness be bent down by faint refraction. Cleanse 
them, and calm them, as you love your life." 

"Mr. Clifton, this epitomizes my creed. 
There is nothing new in it ; I grant you it is 
old as the Delphian inscription. Two thousand 
years ago Socrates preached it in the Agora 
at Athens. Now' it shakes off its Greek ap- 
parel, and comes to this generation encumbered 
in loosely-fitting English garments— immemo- 
rial Truth peering through modern masks." 

He regarded her with an expression of sor- 
rowful tenderness, and his hand trembled as he 
placed it upon her head. 

" This darling creed, this infallible egotism 
of yours, will fail you in the day of fierce trial. 
Pasjan that you are, I know not what is to be- 
come of you. Oh, Electra ! if you would only 
be warned in time." 

The warmth of the room had vermilioned 
her cheeks, and the long black lashes failed to 
veil in any degree the flash of the eyes she 
raised to his face. Removing the hand from 
her head, she took it in both hers, and a cold, 
dauntless smile wreathed her lips. 

" Be easy on my account. 1 am not afraid 
of my future. Why should I be ? God built 
an arsenal in every soul before he launched it 
on the stormy sea of Time, and the key to 
mine is Will !■ I am young and healthy ; the 
rich purple blood bubbles through my veins 
like Chian wine; and, with my heritage of 
poverty and obscurity, I look fortune's favor- 
ites in the eye, and dare them to retard or 
crush me. A vast caravan of mighty souls, 
'whose distant footsteps echo down the corn- 
dors of Time,' have gone before me ; and step 
bv step I tramp after. What woman has done, 
woman may do ; a glorious sisterhood of artists 
beckon me on ; what Elizabeth Cheron, Si- 
bylla Merian, Angelica KaurTman, Elizabeta 
Le Brun, Felicie Fauveau, and Rosa Bonheur 
have achieved, I also will accomplish, or die m 
the effort. These travelled no royal road to 
immortality, but rugged, thorny paths; and 
who shall stay my ftetV Afar off gleams my 
resting-place, but ambition scourges me un- 
nVgimdy on. Do not worry about my future ; 
I will take care of it, and of myself." 

« And when, after years of toil, you win 
fame, even fame enough to satisfy your large 



expectations, what then ? Whither will you 
look for happiness ?" 

" I will grapple fame to my empty heart, 
as women do other idols." 

" It will freeze you, my dear child. Re- 
member the mournful verdict which Dante 
wave the world through the lips of Oderigi : 

« . . Cimabue thought 

To lord it over Painting's field ; and now 
The cry is Giotto's, and his name eclipsed. 
Thus hath one Guido from the other snatched 
The lettered prize : and he, perhaps, is born, 
Who shall drive either from their nest. Tho noise 
Of worldly fame is but a blnst of wind 
Thilt blows from divurs points and shifts its name, 
Shifting the point it blows from." 

" And, Electra, that chill blast will wail 
through your lonely heart, chanting a requiem 
over the trampled, dead hopes that might have 
garlanded your life. Be warned, oh ! daugh- 
ter of Agamemnon ! 

'• • The earth hath bubbles as the water hath, 
And this is of them.' •"' 

" At all events, I will risk it. Thank God ! 
whatever other faults I confess to, there is no 
taint of cowardice in my soul." 

She rose, and stood a moment on the rug, 
looking into the red net-work of coals, then 
turned to leave him, saying : 

" I must go to your mother now, and pres- 
ently I will bring your tea." 

" You need not trouble. I can go to the 
dining-room to-night." 

" It is no trouble ; it gives me great pleasure 
to do something for your comfort ; and I know 
you always enjoy your supper more when you 
have it here." 

As she closed the door he pressed his face 
ajjainst the morocco limns and groaned un- 
consciously, and large glittering tears, creep- 
ing; from beneath the trembling lashes, hid 
themselves in the curling brown beard. 

To see that Mrs. Clifton's supper suited her, 
and then to read aloud to her for half an hour 
from the worn family bible, was part of the 
daily routine which Electra permitted nothing 
to interrupt. On this occasion she found she 
old lady seated, as usual, before the fire, her 
crutches leaning against the chair and her 
favorite cat curled on the carpet at her feet. 
Most tenderly did the aged cripple love her 
son's protege, and the wrinkled sallow face 
lighted up with a smile of pleasure at her en- 
trance. 

" I thought it was about time for you to 
come to me. Sit down, dear, and touch the 
bell for Kate. How is Harry ?" 

" No stronger, I am afraid. You know this 
is very bad weather for him." 

" Yes ; when he came up to-day I thought 
he looked more feeble than I had ever seen 
him ; and, as I sit here and listen to his hollow 
cough, every sound seems a stab at my heart" 
She rocked herself to and fro for a moment, 
and added, mournfully : 



MAUAK1A. 



67 



" Ah, child ! it is so hard to see my young- 
est boy going down to the grave before me. 
The last of five, I hoped he would survive me, 
but consumption is a terrible thing ; it took my 
husband first, then, in quick succession, my 
other children, and now Harry, my darling, 
my youngest, is the last prey." 

Anxious to divert her mind, Electra adroitly 
changed the conversation, and when she rose 
to say good-nijiht, some time after, had the sat- 
isfaction of knowing that the old lady had 
fallen asleep. It was in vain that she arranged 
several tempting dishes on the table beside 
the painter, and coaxed him to partake of 
them ; he received but a cup of tea from her 
hand, ahd motioned the remainder away. As 
the servant removed the tray he looked up at 
his pupil, and said : 

" Please wheel the lounge nearer to the 
grate ; I am too tired to sit up to-night." 

She complied at once, shook up the pillow, 
and, as he laid his head upon it, she spread his 
heavy plaid shawl over him. 

" Now, sir, what shall 1 read this evening ?" 

,l Arcana Ccelc.stia" if you please." 

She took up the volume, and began at the 
place he designated ; and, as she read on and 
on, her rich flexible voice rose and fell upon 
the air like waves of melody. One of her 
hands chanced to hang over the arm of the 
chair, and, as she sat near the lounge, thin hot 
fingers twined about it, drew it caressingly to 
the pillow, and held it tightly. Her first im- 
pulse was to withdraw it, and an expression of 
annoyance crossed her features ; but, on sec- 
ond thought, she suffered her fingers to rest 
passively in his. Now and then, as she turned 
a leaf, she met his luminous eyes fastened upon 
her ; but after a time the quick breathing at- 
tracted her attention, and, looking down, she 
saw that he, too, was sleeping. She closed the 
book and remained quiet, fearful of disturbing 
him ; and as she 'studied the weary, fevered 
face, noting the march of disease, the sorrow- 
ful drooping of the mouth, so indicative of 
grievous disappointment, a hew and holy ten- 
derness awoke in her heart. It was a feeling 
analogous to that of a mother for a suffering 
child, who can be soothed only by her presence 
and caresses — an affection not unfrequently 
kindled in haughty natures by the entire de- 
pendence of a weaker one. Blended with this 
was a remorseful consciousness of the coldness 
with which she had persistently rejected, re- 
pulsed every manifestation of his devoted 
love ; and, winding her fingers through his 
long hair, she vowed an atonement for the 
past in .increased gentleness for the remainder 
of his waning life. As she bent over him, wear- 
ing her compassion in her face, he opened his 
eyes and looked at her. 

" How long have I slept ?" 

" Nearly an hour. How do you feel since 
your nap V" 

He made no reply, and she put her hand on 



his forehead. The countenance lighted, and 
he said slowly : 

" Ah I yes, press your cool soft little palm 
on my brow. It seems to still the throbbing 
in my temples." 

" It is late, Mr. Clifton, and I must leave 
you. William looked in, a few minutes since, 
to say that the fire burned in your room, but I 
would not wake you. I will send him to you. 
Good-night." 

She leaned down voluntarily and kissed 
him, and, with a quick movement, he folded 
her to his heart an instant, then released her, 
murmuring huskily : 

" God bless you, Electra, and reward you for 
your patient endurance. Good-night, my pre- 
cious child." 

She went to her own room, all unconscious 
of the burst of emotion which shook the feeble 
frame of the painter, long after she had laid 
her head on her pillow in the sound slumber 
of healthful youth. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The year that ensued proved a valuable 
school of patience, and taught the young artist 
a gentleness of tone and quietude of manner at 
variance with the natural impetuosity of her 
character. Irksome beyond degree was the 
discipline to which she subjected herself, but, 
with a fixedness of purpose that knew no wa- 
vering, she walked through the daily dreary 
routine, keeping her eyes upon the end that 
slowly but unmistakably approached. la mid- 
summer Mr. Clifton removed, for a few weeks, 
to the Catskill, and occasionally he rallied for 
a few hours, with a tenacity of strength almost 
miraculous. During the still sunny afternoons 
hosts of gay visitors, summer tourists, often 
paused in their excursions to watch the ema- 
ciated form of the painter leaning on the arm 
of his beautiful pupil, or reclining on a lichen- 
carpeted knoll while she sketched the sur- 
rounding scenery. Increased feebleness pre- 
vented Mrs. Clifton from joining in these out- 
door jaunts, and early in September, when it 
became apparent that her mind was rapidly 
sinking into imbecility, they returned to the 
city. Memory seemed to have deserted its 
throne ; she knew neither her son nor Electra, 
atid the last spark of intelligence manifested 
itself in a semi-recognition of her favorite cat, 
which sprang to welcome her back as friendly 
hands bore her to the chamber she was to quit 
no more till death released the crushed spirit. 
A letter was found on the atelier mantle, di- 
rected to Electra in familiar characters, which 
she had not seen for months. Very quietly 
she put it in her pocket, and in the solitude of 
her room broke the seal ; found that Russell 
had returned during her absence, had spent a. 
morning in the studio looking over her work, 
and had gone South to establish himself in his 



68 



MAC ARIA. 



native town. All ! the grievous, grievous dis- 
appointment. A bitter cry rolled from her 
lips, and the hands wrung each other despair- 
ingly ; but, an hour later, she stood b*ide the 
artist with unruffled brow and a serene mouth 
that bore no surface-token of the sorrow gnaw- 
ing at her heart. Winter came on earlier 
than usual, with unwonted severity ; and, 
week after week, Eleutra went continually 
from one sufferer to another, striving to allevi- 
ate pain and to kindle a stray beam of sunshine 
in the darkened mansion. As one living thing 
in a charnel-house she flitted from room to 
room, sometimes shrinking from her own shad- 
ow, that glided before her on the polished wall 
as she went up and down stairs in the dead of 
night. Unremitted vigil set its pale, infallible 
signet on her face, but Mr. Clifton either could 
not or would not see the painful alteration in 
her appearance ; and when Mrs. Young re- 
monstrated with her niece upon the ruinous 
effects of this tedious confinement to the house, 
she only answered, steadily : " I will nurse 
him so long as I have strength left to creep from 
one room to another." 

During Christmas week he grew alarmingly 
worse, and Dr. LeRoy counted the waning life 
by hours ; but on New Year's eve he declared 
himself almost well, and insisted on being car- 
ried to the studio. The whim was humored, 
and, wrapped in his silken robe de chambre, he 
■was seated in his large cushioned chair, smiling 
to find himself once more in the midst of his 
treasures. Turning back the velvet cuff from 
bis attenuated wrist, he lifted his flushed face 
toward the nurse* and said eagerly : 

" Uncover my easel ; make William draw 
it close to me ; I have been idle long enough. 
Give me my palette; I want to retouch the 
forehead of my hero. It needs a high light." 

" You are not strong enough to work. Wait 
till to-morrow." 

" To-morrow 1 to-morrow ! You have told 
me that fifty times. Wheel up the easel, I say. 
The spell is upon me, and work I will." 

It was the " ruling passion strong in death," 
and Electra acquiesced, arranging the colors 
on the palette as he directed, and selecting 
the brushes he required. Resting his feet 
upon the cross-beam, he leaned forward and 
gazed earnestly upon his masterpiece, the 
darling design which had haunted his brain 
for years. " Theta " he called this piece of 
canvas, which was a large square painting 
representing, in the foreground, the death of 
Socrates. Around the reclining form of the 
philosopher clustered Apollodorus, Cebes, Sim- 
mias, and Crito, and through the window of 
the prison came the last slanting, quivering 
ray of the setting sun, showing the street be- 
yond, where, against the stone wall, near a 
gleaming guardian Hermes, huddled a mourn- 
ful group— Xantippe and her weeping chil- 
dren. The details of the picture were finished 
with pre-Raphaelite precision and minuteness 



— the sweep and folds of drapery about the 
couch, the emptied hemlock cup — but the cen- 
tral figure of the Martyr lacked something, 
and to these last touches Mr. Clifton essayed 
to address himself. Slowly, feebly, the trans- 
parent hand wandered over the canvas, and 
Electra heard with alarm the labored breath 
that came panting from his parted lips. She 
saw the unnatural sparkle in nis sunken eyes 
almost die out, then leap up again, like smoul- 
dering embers swept by a sudden gust, and, in 
the clear strong voice of other years, he re- 
peated to himself the very words of Plato's 
Phasdo : ' l For I have heard that it is right to 
die with good omens. Be quiet, therefore, 
and bear up." t 

Leaning back to note the effect of his 
touches, a shiver ran through his frame, the 
brush fell from his tremulous fingers, and he 
lay motionless and exhausted. 

Electra threw up the sash, that the wintry 
air might revive him ; and as the red glare of 
declining day streamed down from the sky- 
light upon the group, she looked from the easy- 
chair to the canvas, and mutely questioned : 
" Which is most thanatoid — painter or paint- 
ed V" 

Folding his hands like a helpless, tired 
child, he raised his eyes to hers and said, bro- 
kenly : 

" I bequeath it to you ; finish my work. 
You understand me — you know what is lack- 
ing ; finish my ' Theta,' and tell the world I 
died at work upon it. Oh ! for a traction of 
my old strength ! One hour more to complete 
my Socrates ! Just one hour ! I would ask no 
more." 

She tried to persuade him to return, to his 
own room, but he obstinately refused, and 
when she insisted, he answered, pleadin^lv, 
" No, no ; let me stay here. Do let me be 
quiet here. I hate that gloomy, tomb-like 
room." 

She gave him a powerful cordial which the 
physician had left, and, having arranged the 
pillows on the lounge, drew it close to the 
easel, and prevailed on him to lie down. 

A servant was despatched for Dr. LeRoy, 
but returned to say that a dangerous case de- 
tained him elsewhere. 

" Mr. Clifton, would you like to have your 
mother brought down stairs and placed beside 
you for a while ?" 

" No ; I want nobody but you. Sit down 
here close to me and keep quiet." 

She lowered the heavy curtains, shaded the 
gas-globe, and, placing a bunch of sweet violets 
on his pillow, sat down at his side. His favor- 
ite spaniel nestled at her feet, and occasion- 
ally threw up his head and gazed wistfully at 
his master. ' Thus two hours passed, and as 
she rose to administer the medicine he waved 
it ofi', saying : 

" Give me no more of it. I won't be drug- 
ged in my last hours. I won't have my intel- 



MACARTA. 



69 



lect clouded by opiates. Throw it into the fire 
and let me rest." 

" Oh, sir ! can I do nothing for you ?" 

" Yes ; read to # me. Your voice lulls me. 
Head me that letter of lamblichus to Agatho- 
cles, which I marked last summer." 

She read it, and, without questioning, laid 
the book aside and took up a volume of Jacob 
Behmen, of which he was very fond, selectitig, 
here and there, passages designated by pencil- 
marks. He had long revelled among the echo- 
less abysses of dim, medieval, mystical lore, and, 
strange as it may appear, the quaint old books 
preserved their spell and riveted the wander- 
ing mind, even on the verge of dissolution. 
She knew that Cornelius-Agrippa, Theo- 
pht-astus Paracelsus, and Swedenborg held 
singular mastery over him ; but she shrank 
from all these now, as though they had been 
bound in flames, and a yeorni :g to comfort 
him from the sacred lips of Jewish prophets 
and apostles took possession of her. Passages 
which she had read to her blind aunt came 
back to her now, ringing trumpet-toned in her 
ears, and she rose to bring a bible from Mrs. 
Clifton's room. . 

" Where are you going ?" 

" To your mother's room, for a moment 
only. I want a book which I left there." 

" Sit still. Do not leave me, I beg of you." 
He drew ' her back to the seat, and after a 
short silence said, slowly : 

" Electra, are you afraid of death ?" 

" No, "sir." 

" Do you know that I am dying ?" 

" I have seen you as ill several times be- 
fore." 

" You are a brave, strong-hearted child ; 
glazed eyes and stiffened limbs will not 
frighten you. I have but few hours to live ; 
put your hand in mine, and promise me that 
you will sit here till my soul quits its clay- 
prison. Will you watch with me the death of 
the year ? Are you afraid to stay with me 
and see me die ?" 

She would not trust herself to speak, but 
laid her hand in his and clasped it firmly. He 
smiled, and added : 

" Will you promise to call no one ? I want 
no eyes but yours to watch me as I die. Let 
there be only you and me." 

" I promise." 

For some moments he lay motionless, but 
the intensity of his gaze made her restless, 
and she shaded her face. 

" Electra, my darling, your martyrdom 
draws to a close. I have been merciless in my 
exactions, I know ; you are worn to a shadow, 
and your face is sharp and haggard ; but you 
will forgive me all, when the willows of Green- 
wood trail their boughs across my headstone. 
You have been faithful and uncomplaining; 
you have been to me a light, a joy, and a 
glory ! God bless you, my pupil. There was 
a time when, looking at the future that stretch- 



ed before you, I shuddered on your account. 
Since, then I have learned to know you better ; 
I feel assured your nature will be equal to its 
trials. You can conquer difficulties, and, better 
still, you can work and live alone; you can 
conquer your own heart. I am passing to a 
higher, purer, happier sphere; but my spirit 
will hover constantly around you here, in the 
midst of your work, overlooking you continu- 
ally, as in the days that have gone by. I have 
one request to make of you, and unhesitating- 
ly I make it : remain in this house and watch 
over my poor mother's last hours as you 
watched over and cheered mine. It is a heavy 
burden to lay upon you ; but you have pa- 
tiently borne as heavy, and I have no fear that 
you will desert her when the last of her sons 
sleep under marble. She will never know 
that I have gone before her till we meet in 
another world. In my vest-pocket is the key 
of my writing-desk. There you will find my 
will ; take charge of it, and put it in LeRoy's 
hands as soon as possible. Give me some 
water." 

She held the glass to his lips, and, as he sank 
back, a bright smile played over his face. 

"Ah, child ! it is such a comfort to have you 
here — you are so inexpressibly dear to me." 

She took his thin hands in hers, and hot 
tears fell upon them. An intolerable weight 
crushed her heart, a half-defined, horrible 
dread, and she asked, falteringly : 

"Are you willing to die? Is your soul at 
peace with God 'i Have you any fear of 
Eternity ?" 

" None, my child, none." 

" Would you like to have Mr. Bailey come 
and pray for you ?" ' 

" I want no one now but you." 

A long silence ensued, broken only by the 
heavily-drawn breath of the sufferer. The 
memory of her aunt's tranquil death haunted 
the girl, and, finally, the desire to direct his 
thoughts to God triumphed over every other 
feeling. She sank on her knees beside the 
lounge, and a passionate prayer leaped from 
her pale lips. She had not prayed for nearly 
four years, and the petition went up to God 
framed in strange, incoherent language — a 
plaintive cry to the Father to release, painless- 
ly, a struggling human soul. His fingers clung 
spasmodically to hers, and, soon after, the head 
sank on his chest, and she saw that he slept. 

The glittering cortege of constellations mov- 
ed solemnty on in their eternal march through 
the fields of heaven, and in midsky hung a. 
moon of almost supernatural brightness, glar- 
ing down through the skylight like an inquis- 
itorial eye. Two hours elapsed ; the measured 
melancholy tick of the clock marked the ex- 
piring moments of the old year ; the red coals 
of the grate put on their robe of ashes ; the 
gaslight burned dimly, and flickered now and 
then as the wind surged through the partially 
opened window ; and there by the couch sat 



70 



MACAPJA. 



the motionless watcher, noting the indescriba- 
ble but unmistakable change creeping on, like 
the shadow which slowly-sailing summer clouds 
cast. down upon green meadows or flowery 
hill-sides, darkening the landscape. The fee- 
ble, thread-like pulse fluttered irregular 1 }-, but 
the breathing became easy and low'as a babe's, 
and occasionally a gentle sigh heaved the 
chest. Once his lips had moved, and she 
caught the indistinct words — li Discreet de- 
grees " , « influx ," " type-creat- 
ure." She knew .that the end was at hand, 
and a strained, frightened expression came 
into her large eyes as she glanced nervously 
round the room, weird and awful in its gloomy 
surroundings. The damp masses of hair clung 
to her temples, and she felt heavy drops gath- 
ering on her forehead, as in that glance she 
met the solemn, fascinating eyes of Mun'm 
staring at her from the low mantle. She 
caught her breath, and the deep silence was 
broken by the metallic tongue that dirged out 
"twelve." The last stroke of the bronze 
hammer echoed drearily ; the old year lav- 
stark and cold on its bier ; Munin flapped his 
dusky wings with a long, sepulchral, blood- 
curdling hoot, and the dying man opened his 
dim, failing eyes, and fixed them for the last 
time on his pupil. 

" Electra, my darling." 

" My dear master, I am here." 

She lifted his head to her bosom, nestled her 
fingers into his cold palm, and leaned her 
cheek against his brow. Pressing his face 
close to hers, the gray eyes closed, and a smile 
throned itsulf on the parted lips. A slight 
tremor shook the limbs, a soft shuddering 
breath swept across the watcher's face, and 
the '' golden bowl " was shivered, the " silver 
cord" was loosed. 

She sat there till, the iciness of the rigid 
form chilled her, then laid the head tenderly 
down on its pillow, and walked to the. mantle- 
piece. The Angel of Time lifted the hammer 
and struck "one;" and as she glanced acci- 
dentally at the inscription on the base, she 
remembered a favorite quotation which it had 
often called from the cold lips of the dead 
painter : 

"Time is my fair seed-field, of Time I 'm heir." 

The seed-time had ended; the calm fields of 
Eternity stretched before him now; 'the fruits 
of the harvest were required at his. hands. 

Were they full of ripe golden sheaves, or V 

She shrank from her own questioning, and 
looked over her shoulder at the dreamless, 
smiling sleeper. 

" His palms are folded on his breast ; 
There is no other thiug expressed, 
But long disquiet merged in rest." 

The vi<ril was over, the burden was lifted 
from her "shoulders, the weary ministry here 
ended ; and, shrouding her face in her arms, 
the lonely woman wept bitterly. 



CHAPTER XV 

Four years had wrought material changes 

in the Town of W ; new streets had been 

opened, new buildings erected, new forms trod 
the sidewalks new faces looked out of shop- 
windows and flashing equipages, and new 
shafts of granite and marble stood in the ceme- 
tery to tell of many who had been gathered to 
their forefathers. The old red school-house, 
where two generations had been tutored, was 
swept away to make place for a railroad de- 
pot ; and, instead of the venerable trees that 
once overshadowed its precincts, bristling walls 
of brick and mortar rang with the shrill whis- 
tle of the engine, or the sharp continual click 
of repairing-sbops. The wild shout, the rip- 
pling laugh of careless, childish glee were 
banished, and the frolicsome flock of by-gone 
years had grown to manhood and womanhood, 
were sedate business-men and sober matrons. 
If important revolutions had been effected in 
her early home, net less decided and apparent 
was the change which had taken place in the 
heiress of Huntingdon Hill; and having been 
eyed, questioned, scrutinized by the best fami- 
lies, and laid in the social scales, it was found 
a difficult matter to determine her weight as 
accurately as seemed desirable. In common 
parlance, " her education was finished " — she 
was regularly and unmistakably " out." Eve- 
rybody hastened to inspect her, sound her, , 
label her ; mothers to compare her with their 
own daughters ; daughters to discover how 
much they had to apprehend in the charms of 
the new rival ; sons to satisfy themselves with 
regard to the truth of the rumors concerning 
her beauty ; all with curiosity stamped on their 
countenances; all with dubiety written there 
at the conclusion of their visit. Perfectly 
self-possessed, studiedly polite, attentive to 
all the punctilios of etiquette, polished and 
irreproachable in deportment, but cold, reti- 
cent, grave, indulging in no familiarities, and 
allowing none; fascinating by her extraordi- 
nary beauty and grace, but tacitly impressing 
upon all, " Thus far. and no farther." Having 
lost her aunt two years before her return, the 
duties of hostess devolved upon her, and she 
dispensed the hospitalities of her home with 
an easy though stately elegance, surprising in 
one so inexperienced. No positive charge 
could be preferred against her by the inquisi- 
torial circle ; even Mrs. Judge Harriss, the self- 
constituted, but universally acknowledged, au- 
tocrat of beau monde in W , accorded her 

a species of negative excellence, and confessed 
herself baffled and unable to pronounce a 
verdict. An enigma to her own father, it was 
not wonderful that strangers knit their brows 
in striving to analyze her character, and ere 
long the cooing of carrier-pigeons became au- 
dible : " Her mother had been very eccentric ; 
even before her death it was whispered that 
insanity hung threateningly over her ; strange 



MACAEIA. 



71 



things were told of her, and, doubtless, Irene 
inherited her peculiarities." Nature furnishes 
some seeds ■with downy wings to insure distri- 
bution, and envy and malice, and probably 
very innocent and mild-intentioned gossip, 
soon provided this report with remarkable fa- 
cilities for progress. It chanced that Dr-s Ar- 
nold was absent for some weeks after her ar- 
rival, and no sooner had he returned than he 
sought his quondam protege. Entering unan- 
nounced, he paused suddenly as he caught 
sight of her standing before the fire, with Par- 
agon at her feet. She lifted her head" and 
came to meet him, holding out both hands, 
with a warm, bright smile. 

" Oh, Dr. Arnold ! I am so glad to see you 
once more. It was neither friendly nor hos- 
pitable to go off just as I came home., after 
long years of absence. I am so very glad to 
see you." 

He held her hands and gazed at her like 
one in a dream of mingled pain and pleasure, 
and when he spoke his voice was unsteady. 

" You can not possibly be as glad to see me 
as I am to have you back. But I can't realize 
that this is, indeed, you, my pet — the Irene I 
parted with rather more than four years ago. 
Child, what is it ? What have you done to 
yourself? I called you Queen in your infan- 
cy, when you clung to my finger and tottered 
across the floor to creep into my arms, but ten- 
fold more appropriate does the title seem now. 
You are not the same Irene who used to toil 
up my office-steps, and climb upon the tallest 
chair to examine the skeletons in my cases — 
the snakes and lizards in my jars. Oh, child ! 
what a marvellous, what a glorious beauty you 
have grown to be." 

" Take care ; you will spoil her, Arnold. 
Don't you know, you old cynic, that women 
can't stand such flattery as yours '?" laughed 
Mr. Huntingdon. 

" I am glad you like me, Doctor ; T am glad 
that yoa think I have improved ; and, since 
you think so, I am obliged to you for express- 
ing your opinion of me so kindly. I wish I 
could return your compliments, but my con- 
science vetoes any such proceeding. You look 
jaded — overworked. What is the reason tht.t 
you have grown so gray and haggard ? We 
will enter into a compact to renew the old 
life ; you shall treat me exactly as you used to 
do, and I shall come to you as formerly, and 
inte v rupt labors that seem too heavy. Sit 
down, and talk to me. I want to hear your 
voiee ; it is pleasant to my ears, makes music 
in my heart, calls up the by-gone. You have 
adopted a stick in my absence ; I don't like 
the innovation ; it hurts me to think that you 
need it. I must take care of you, I see, and 
persuade you to relinquish it entirely." 

" Arnold, I verily believe she was more anx- 
ious to see you than everybody else in W 

except old Nellie, her nurse." 

She did not contradict him. and the three 



sat conversing for more than an hour ; then 
other visitors came, and she withdrew to the 
parlor. The doctor had examined her closely 
all the while ; had noted every word, action, 
expression ; and a troubled, abstracted look 
came into his face when she left them. 

" Huntingdon, what is it ? What is it T 

" What is what ? I don't understand you." 

''"What has so changed that child ? I want 
to know what ails her ?" 

" Nothing, that I know of. You know she 
was always rather singular." 

" Yes, but it was a different sort of singu- 
larity. She is too still and white and cold and 
stately. I told you it was a wretched piece of 
business to send a nature like hers, so differ- 
ent from everybody's else, off among utter 
strangers ; to shut up that queer, free, untam- 
ed young thing in a boarding-school for four 
years, with hundreds of miles between her and 
the few things she loved. She required very 
peculiar and skilful treatment, and, instead, 
you put her off where she petrified ! I knew 
it would never answer, and I told you so. You 
wanted to break her obstinacy, did you ? She 
comes back marble. I tell you now I know 
her better than you do, though you are her 
father, and you may as well give up at once 
that chronic hallucination of ' ruling, conquer- 
ing her.' 9he is like steel — cold, firm, brittle ; 
she will break, snap asunder; but bend! — 
never ! never ! Huntingdon, I love that child ; 
I have a right to love her ; she has been very 
dear to me from her babyhood, and it would 
go hard with me to know that any sorrow 
darkened her life. Don't allow your old plans 
and views to influence you now. Let Irene 
be happy in her own way. Did. yon ever set- 
a contented-looking eagle in a gilt cage V Did 
you ever know a leopardess kept in a pad- 
dock and taught to forget her native jungles ?" 

Mr. Huntingdon moved uneasily, ponder- 
ing the unpalatable advice. 

" You certainly don't mean to say that she 

has inherited ." ' He crushed back the. 

words ; could he crush the apprehension, too ? 

" I mean to s^y that, if- she were my child, I 
would be guided by her, instead of striving to 
cut her character to fit the totally different 
pattern of my own." 

He put on his hat, thrust his hands into his 
pockets, stood for some seconds frow^im; s<> 
heavily that the shaggy eyebrows met and 
partially concealed the cavernou's eyes, then 
nodded to the master of the house and sou ; iit 
his buggy. From that day Irene was on- 
scious of a keener and more constant scru iny 
on her father's part — a ceaseless surveilla -ce, 
silent, but rigid — that soon grew intolera >Ie. 
Jlo matter how she employed her time or 
whither she went, he seemed thoroughly cog- 
nizant of the details of her life; and w iere 
she least expected interruption or dictatio i his 
hand, firm though gentle, pointed the vay, 
and his voice calmlv but inflexibly dire ;ted. 



72 



MACARIA. 



Her affection Lad been in no degree alienated 
by their long separation, and, through its 
sway, she submitted for a time ; but Hunting- 
don blood ill brooked restraint, and, ere long, 
hers_ became feverish, necessitating release. 
As in all tyrannical natures, his exactions 
grew upon her compliance. She was allowed 
no margin for the exercise of judgment or in- 
clination ; her associates were selected, thrust 



The situation of the house commanded an 
extensive and beautiful prospect, and the an- 
cient trees that overshadowed it imparted a 
venerable and imposing aspect. The building 
was of brick, overcast to represent granite, 
and along three sides ran a wide gallery, sup- 
ported by lofty circular pillars, crowned with 
unusually heavy capitals. The main body 
consisted of two stories, with a kail in the 



upon her; her occupations decided without i # eentre and three rooms on either side; while 
reference to her wishes. From the heartless, ! two long single-storied wings stretched out 



frivolous routine marked out she shrank in dis- 
gust; and, painful as was the alternative, she 
prepared for the clash which soon beca'me in- 
evitable. He wished her to be happy, but in 
his own way, in accordance with his views and 
aims, and, knowing the utter antagonism of 
taste and feeling which unfortunately existed, 
she determined to resist. Governed less by 
impulse than sober second thought and sound 



right and left — one a billiard-room, the other 
a greenhouse. 

The parlors, and library occupied one side — 
the first opening into the greenhouse; the 
dining-room and smoking-room were corres- 
pondingly situated to the billiard-salqon. The 
frescoed ceilings were too low to suit modern 
ideas; the windows were large, and nearly 
square ; the facings, sills, and doors all of ce- 



reasoning, it was not until after long and pa- j dar, dark as mahogany with age, and polished 
tient deliberation that she finally'" resolved I as rosewood. The tall mantle-pieces were of 
upon her future course, and steadily main- ' fluted Egyptian black marble, and along the 
tained it. She felt most keenly that it was a j freshly-tinted walls the elaborate arabesque 
painful, a lamentable resolution, but none the | moulding or cornice hung heavy and threat- 
less a necessity ; and, having once determined, j ening. Abroad easy flight' of white marble 
she went forward with a fixedness of purpose : steps led up to the richly-carved front-door, 
characteristic of her family. It was the begin- j with its massive silver knocker bearing the 
ning of a life-long contest, and, to one who ' name of Huntingdon in old-fashioned Italian 
understood Leonard Huntingdon's disposition, j characters ; and in the arched niches, on 
offered a dreary prospect. ■ either side of this door, stood two statues, 

From verbal differences she habitually ab- ; brought from Europe by Mr. Huntingdon's 
stained ; opinions which she knew to be disa- i father, and supposed to represent certain Ro- 
greeable to him she carefully avoided giving i man penates. 

expression to in his presence ; and, while al- ! From the hall on the second floor, a narrow, 
ways studiously thoughtful of his comfort, she j spiral, iron stairway ascended to a circular 
preserved a respectful deportment, allowing | observatory on the roof, with a row of small 
herself no hasty or defiant words. Fond of columns corresponding with those below, and 
pomp" and ceremony, and imbued with certain ! a tessellated floor of alternating white and 
aristocratic notions, which an ample fortune ; variegated squares of marble. Originally the 
had always permitted him to indulge, Mr. j observatory had been crowned by a heavy 



Huntingdon entertained company in princely 
style and whenever an opportunity offered. 
His dinners, suppers, and card-parties were 
known far and wide, and Huntingdon Hill be- 
came proverbial for hospitality throughout the 
state. Strangers we're feted, and it was a rare 
occurrence for father and daughter to dine 
quietly together. Fortunately for Irene, the 
servants were admirably trained ; and though 
this round of company imposed a weight of re- 
sponsibilities oppressive to one so inexperi- 
enced, she applied herself diligently to domes- 
tie economy, and soon became familiarized 
with its details. Her father had been very 



pagoda-shaped roof, .but recently this had 
been removed and a covering of glass substi- 
tuted, which, like that of hothouses, could be 
raised and lowered at pleasure by means ( ' 
ropes and pulleys. Two generations had em- 
bellished this house, and the modern wings 
forming the cross had been erected within 
Irene's recollection. In expectation of her 
return, an entirely new set of furniture had 
been selected in New York, and arranged 
some weeks before her arrival— costly carpets, 
splendid mirrors, plush and brocatel sofas, rich 
china, and every luxury which wealth and 
fastidious taste could supply. The grounds in 



anxious to provide her with a skilful house- : front, embracing several acres, were enclosed 
keeper, to relieve her of the care and tedious j by a brick wall, and at the foot of the hill, at 
minutia of such matters'; but she refused to j the entrance of the long avenue of elms, stood 



accept one, avowing her belief that it was the 
imperative duty of every woman to superintend 
and inspect the management of her domestic 



a tall arched iron gate. A smoothly-shaven 
terrace of Bermuda grass ran round the house, 
and the broad carriage-way swept up to a 
the door, surmounted by the 



affairs. Consequently, from the first week of mound opposite t 

her return, she made it a rule to spend an 'hour ■ bronze figure of a crouching dog. On one* 
after breakfast in her dining-room pantry, de- . side of the avenue a beautiful lawn, studded 
termininc and arranging the details of the day. I with clumps of trees, extended to the wall ; on 



MACAEIA. 



73 



tTie other serpentine walks, bordered with low 
hedges, carved flower-beds of diverse shapes ; 
and here delicate trellis-work supported rare 
creepers, and airy, elegant arbors and summer- 
houses were overgrown with vines of rank 
luxuriance. Everything about the parterre, 
from the well-swept gravel walks to the eare^ 
fully-clipped hedges,- betokened constant at- 
tention and lavish expenditure. But the 
crowning glory of the place was its wealth 
of trees — the ancient avenue of mighty elms, 
arching grandly to the sky like the groined 
nave of some vast cathedral ; the circlet of 
sentinel poplars towering around the house, 
and old as its foundations ; the long, undulat- 
ing line of venerable willows waving at the 
foot of the lawn over the sinuous little brook 
that rippled on its way to the creek ; and, be- 
yond the mansion,, clothing the sides of a 
steeper hill, a sombre background of murmur- 
ing, solemn, immemorial pines. Such was 
Irene's home — stately and elegant — kept so 
thoroughly repaired that, in its cheerfulness, 
its age was forgotten. 

The society of W was considered re- 
markably fine. There- was quite an aggrega- 
tion of wealth and refinement ; gentlemen, 
whose plantations were situated in adjacent 
counties, resided here, with their families ; 
some, who spent their winters on the seaboard, 
resorted here for the summer ; its bar was said 
to possess more talent than any other in the 
state ; its schools claimed to be unsurpassed ; 
it boasted of a concert-hall, a lyceum, a hand- 
some court-house, a commodious, well-built 
jail, and half-a-dozen as fine churches as any 
country-town could desire. I would fain avoid 
the term, if possible, but no synonym exists — 

W was, indisputably, an. " aristocratic '' 

place. 

Thus, after more than four years absence, 
the summers of which had been spent in travel 
among the beautiful mountain scenery of the 
North, the young heiress returned to the home 
of her childhood. Standing on the verge of 
nineteen, she put the early garlanded years 
behind her and looked into the solemn temple 
of womanhood, with its chequered pavement 
of light and shadow ; its storied friezes, gilded 
architraves, and fretted shrines, where white- 
robed bands of devotees enter with uncertain 
step, all eager, trembling My.ttce, soon to be- 
come clear-eyed, sad-eyed Epoplce, through 
the unerring, mystical, sacred initiation of the 
only true hierophant — Tjme. 

From her few early school associates she 
had become completely estranged ; and the 
renewal of their acquaintance now soon con- 
vinced her that the utter want of congeniality in 
character and habits of life precluded the possi- 
bility of any warm friendships between them. 
For several months after her return she pa- 
tiently, hopefully, faithfully studied the dispo- 
sitions of the members of various families with 
whom she foresaw that she would be thrown, 



by her father's wishes, into intimate relation- 
ship, and satisfied herself that, among all 
these, there was not one, save Dr. Arnold, 
whose counsel, assistance, or sympathy she felt 
any inclination to claim. Human nature at 
least is, beyond all cavil, cosmopolitan in its 
characteristics (barring a few ethnologic limi- 
tations) ; and a given number of men and 
women similarly circumstanced in Chili, Eng- 
land, Madagascar, Utah, or Burmah would, 
doubtless, yield a like quota of moral and in- 
tellectual idiosyncrasies. In fine, W ■ 

was not in any respect peculiar, or, as a com- 
munity, specially afflicted with heartlessness, 
frivolity, brainlessness, or mammon ism ; the 
average was fair, reputable in all respects. 
But, incontrovertibly, the girl who came to 
spend her life among these people was totally 
dissimilar in criteria of action, thought, and 
feeling. To the stereotyped conventional stand- 
ard of fashionable life she had never yielded 
allegiance ; and now stood (not in the St. Si- 
mon, Fourier, Owen, or Leroux sense) a social 
free-thinker. For a season she allowed her- 
self to be whirled on by the current of dinners, 
parties, and picnics ; but soon her sedate, con- 
templative temperament revolted from the 
irksome round, and gradually she outlined and 
pursued a different course, giving to her gay 
companions just what courtesy required, no 
more. 

Hugh had prolonged his stay in Europe 
beyond the period originally designated ; and 
instead of arriving in time to accompany his 
uncle and cousin home, he did not sail for some 
months after their return. At length, how- 
ever, letters were received, announcing his 
presence in New York and fixing the day 
when his relatives might expect him. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

The carriage had been despatched to the 
depot, a servant stood at the end of the 
avenue waiting to throw open the gate, Mr. 
Huntingdon walked up and down the wide 
colonnade, and Irene sat before the fire in her 
own room, holding in one palm the flashing 
betrothal-ring, which she had been forced to 
wear since her return from New York. She 
had looked into the rooms to see that all was 
bright and cheerful, had looped back the cur- 
tains in the apartment prepared for Hugh, had 
filled the vases with flowers that he preferred 
in his boyhood, and now listened for his ap- 
proach with complex emotions. The sole com- 
panion of her infancy, she would have hailed" 
his arrival with unmixed joy but for the pe- 
culiar relationship in which she now stood to 
him. The few years of partial peace had 
passed ; she knew that the hour drew near 
when the long-dreaded struggle must begin, 
and, hopeless of averting it, quietly waited tor 
the storm to break. Dropping the ring in her 



74 



MACAEIA. 



jewelry-box, she turned the key, and just 
their her father's voice rang through the 
house. 

" Irene ! the carriage is coming up the 
avenue." 

She went slowly down stairs, followed by 
Paragon, and joined her father at the door. 
His searching look discovered nothing in the 
serene face ; the carriage stopped, and he hast- 
ened to meet his nephew. 

" Come at last, eh 1 Welcome home, my 
dear boy." 

The young man turned from his uncle, 
sprang up the steps, then paused, and the 
cousins looked at each other. 

" Well, Hugh 1 I am very glad to see you 
once more." 

She held out her hands, and he saw at a 
glance that her fingers were unfettered. 
Seizing them warmly, he bent forward, but 
she drew back coldly, and he exclaimed : 

" Irene ! I claim a warmer welcome." 

She made a haughty, repellent gesture, and 
moved forward a few steps to greet the stran- 
ger who accompanied him. 

" My daughter, this is your uncle, Eric 
Mitchell, who has not seen you since you were 
a baby." 

The party entered the house, and, seated 
beside him, Irene gazed with mingled emo- 
tions of pain and pleasure upon her mother's 
only brother. He was about thirty, but look- 
ed older, from life-long suffering ; had used 
crutches from the time he was five years of 
age, having been hopelessly crippled by a'fall 
during his infancy. His features were sharp, 
his cheeks wore the sallow hue of habitual ill- 
health, and bis fine gray eyes were somewhat 
sunken. Resting his crutches against the 
sofa, he leaned back and looked long and 
earnestly at his niece. Very dimly he remem- 
bered a fair flaxen-haired baby whom the 
nurse had held out to be kissed when he was 
sent to Philadelphia to be treated for his lame- 
ness ; soon after he heard of his sister's death, 
and then his tutor took him to Europe, to 
command the best medical advice of the Old 
World. 

" From the. faint recollection which I have 
of your mother, I think you'strongly resemble 
her," he said, at last, in a fond, gentle tone. 

" I don't know about that, Erie. She is far 
inore of a Iluniingdun than a Mitchell. She 
has many of the traits of your family, but in 
appearance she certainly belongs to my side 
of the house. She very often reminds me of 
Hugh's mother." 

, Conversation turned upon the misfortune of 
the cripple; he spoke freely of the unsuccess- 
ful experiments made by eminent physicians; 
of the hopelessness of his case; and Irene was 
particularly impressed by the calmness and 
patience with which he seemed to have re- 
signed himself to this great affliction. She 
could detect no trace of complaining bitter- 



ness, or, what was still more to be deplored, 
the irritable, nervous querulousness so often 
observed in persons of his situation. She 
found him a ripe scholar, a profound archaeolo- 
gist, and philosophic observer of his age and 
generation ; and, deeply interested in his quiet, 
low-toned talk, she felt irresistibly drawn to- 
ward him, careless of passing hours and of 
Hugh's ill-concealed impatience of manner. 
As they rose from the tea-table her cousin said, 
laughingly : 

" I protest against monopoly. I have not 
been able to say three words to my lady-cous- 
in." 

" I yield the floor, from necessity. My long 
journey has unfitted me for this evening, and 
I must bid you all an early good-night." 

" Can I do anything for you, Uncle i" 

" No, thank you, Irene ; I have a servant 
who thoroughly understands taking care of 
me. Go talk to Hugh, who has been wishing 
me among the antipodes." 

He shook hands with her, smiled kindly, and 
Mr. Huntingdon assisted him to his room. 

" Irene, come into the library, and let me 
have a cigar." 

" How tenacious your bad habits are, Hugh." 

" Smoking belongs to no such category. 
My habits are certainly quite as tenacious as 
my cousin's antipathies." 

He selected a cigar, lighted it, and drawing 
a chair near hers, threw himself into it with 
an expression of great satisfaction. " It is de- 
lightful to get back home and see you again, 
Irene. I felt some regret at quitting Paris, 
but the sight of your face more than compen- 
sates me." 

She was looking very earnestly at him, not- 
ing the alteration in his appearance, and for a 
moment his eyes drooped before hers. She 
saw that the years had been spent, not ia 
study, but in a giddy round of pleasure and 
dissipation, yet the bright, frank, genial ex- 
pression of boyhood still lingered, and she 
could not deny that he had grown up a very 
handsome man. She knew that he was capa- 
ble of sudden, spasmodic impulses of generosity, 
but saw that selfishness remained the exeat 
substratum of his character, and her keen feel- 
ing of disappointment showed her now how 
much she had hoped to find him changed in 
this respect. 

" Irene, I had a right to expect a warmer 
welcome than you deigned to give me." 

" Hugh, remember that we have ceased to 
be children. When you learn to regard me 
simply as your cousin, and are satisfied with a 
cousin's welcome, then, and not until then, 
shall you receive it. Let childish whims pass 
with the years that have separated us ; rake 
up no germs of contention to mar this first 
evening of your return. Be reaspnable, and 
now tell me how you have employed yourself 
since we parted ; what have you seen ? what 
have you gleaned V" 



MACARIA. 



75 



He flushed angrily, but the imperturbable 
face controlled 3iim, even against his will, and, 
muttering something which she thought sound- 
ed very much like an oath, he smoked for some 
seconds in silence. Without noticing his sul- 
lenness, she made some inquiries concerning 
his sojourn in Paris, and insensibly he found 
himself drawn into a narration of his course 
of life. She listened with apparent interest, 
making occasional good-humored comments, 
and bringing him back to the subject when- 
ever he attempted a detour toward the topic 
so extremely distasteful to her. 

The clock struck eleven ; she rose, and said : 

" I beg your pardon, Hugh, for keeping you 
up so late. I ought to have known that you 
were fatigued by railroad-travel, and required 
sleep. You know the way to your room ; it is 
the same you occupied before you went to 
college. Good-night'; I hope you will rest 
well." 

She held out her hand carelessly; he took 
it eagerly, and holding it up to the light said, 
in a disappointed tone : 

"Irene, where is my ring? Why are you 
not wearing it ?" 

" It is in my jewelry-box. As I gave you 
my reasons for not wearing it, when you offer- 
ed it to me, it is not necessary to repeat them 
now. Good-night, Hugh ; go dream of some- 
thing more agreeable than our old childish 
quarrels." She withdrew her fingers and left 
him. 

As she entered her own room and closed the 
door, she was surprised to find her nurse sit- 
ting before the fire, with her chin in her hands, 
and her keen black eyes fixed on the coals. 

"Aunt Nellie, what are you sitting up so 
late for ? You will have another spell of 
rheumatism, tramping about this time of 
night." 

" I have been in to see Mass' Eric, blessed 
lamb that he always was and always will be. 
He is so changed 1 never would have known 
him ; he was a weak little white-faced cripple 
when I first saw him twenty years ago. It 
seems like there is a curse on your family any- 
how, both sides. They died off, and have been 
killed off, on your mother's side, till Mass' Eric 
is the only one left of all the Mitchells, and, as 
for Master's family, you and Hugh are the two 
last. You know some families run out, and I. 
don't think Master ought to try to overturn the 
Lord's plans. Queen, let things take their 
course." - 

" Who has put all this into your head ?" 

" Nobody put it into my head ! I should 
like to know where my eyes have been these 
many years ? I have n't been so near blind all 
my life. Don't you suppose I know what Mas- 
ter 's been after since you. were eighteen 
months old ? Was n't I standing by the bed 
when Hugh's mother died, and did n't I hear 
Master promise her that, when you were grown, 
you and Hugh should marry ? Don't I know 



how your poor dying mother cried, and wrung 
her hands, and said ' Harm would come of it 
all, and she hoped you would die while you 
were a baby ?' She had found out what 
Huntingdon temper was. Poor blessed saint ! 
what a life she did lead between Miss Margaret 
and Mis3 Isabella ! It is no use to shut your 
eyes to it, Queen. You might just as well 
look at it at once. It is a sin for near kin like 
you and Hugh to marry, and you ought to set 
your face against it. He is just his mother 
over again, and you will see trouble, as sure as 
your name is Irene, if you don't take a stand. 
Oh ! they are managing people ! and the Lord 
have mercy on folks they don't like, for it is n't 
in Huntingdon blood to forgive or to forget 
anything. I am so thankful your Uncle Eric 
has come— he will help to stand between you 
and trouble. Ah! it is coming, Queen ! it 's 
coming ! You did n't see how your father 
frowned when you would n't let Hugh kiss you ? 
I was looking through the window, and saw it 
all. I have n't had one hour's peace since I 
dreamed of seeing you and your mottier to- 
gether. Oh, my baby ! my baby ! there is 
trouble and sorrow thickening for you ; I know 
it. I have had a warning of it." 

She inclined her head on one side, and 
rocked herself to and fro, much as did early 
Pelasgic Dodonides in announcing oracular 
decrees. 

" You need not grieve about it ; I want no- 
body to stand between me and trouble. Be- 
side, Nellie, you' must remember that, in ail 
my father does, he intends and desires to pro- 
mote my welfare and to make me happy." 

" Did he send you off to that boarding-school 
for your happiness ? You were very happy 
there, wern't you ? It is no use to try to 
blindfold me; I have lived a little too long. 
Oh, my baby ! your white, white face, and big 
sorrowful blue eyes follow me day and night ; 
I knew how it would be when you were born. 
You came into this world among awful signs ! 
the sun was eclipsed ! chickens went to roost, 
as if night had come ; and I saw stars in the 
sky at two o'clock in the day ! Oh! I thought, 
sure enough, judgment-day had come at last ; 
and when they put ypu in my arms I trembled 
so I could hardly stand. May God have mer- 
cy on you, Queen !" 

She shuddered for a moment, as if in the 
presence of some dread evil, and, rising, 
wrapped her shawl about her shoulders and 
left the room. 

Irene looked after her retreating form, smil- 
ing at the superstitious turn her thoughts had 
taken, then, dismissing the subject, she fell 
asleep, thinking of her uncle. 

A week passed, varied by few incidents of 
interest ; the new-comers became thoroughly 
domesticated— the old routine was re-estab- 
lished. Hugh seemed gay and careless — hunt- 
ing, visiting, renewing boyish acquaintances, 
and whiling away the time as inclination 



76 



MACARIA. 



prompted. He had had a lon^ conversation 
with his uncle, and the result was that, for the 
present, no allusion was made to the future. 
In 'Irene's presence the subject was tempora- 
rily tabooed. She knew that the project was 
not relinquished — was only veiled till" a conve- 
nient season, and, giving to the momentary 
lull its full value, she acquiesced, finding in 
Eric's society enjoyment and resources alto- 
gether unexpected. Instinctively they seemed 
to comprehend each other's character, and 
while both were taciturn and undemonstra- 
tive, a warm affection sprang up between 
them. 

On Sunday morning, as the family group 
sat around the breakfast-table waiting for 
Hugh, who lingered, as usual, over his second 
cup of chocolate, Mr. Mitchell suddenly laid 
down the fork with which he had been describ- 
ing a series of geometrical figures on the fine 
damask, and said : " I met a young man in 
Brussels who interested me extremely, and 
in copnection with whom I venture the pre- 
diction that, if he lives, he will occupy a con- 
spicuous position in the affairs of his country. 
He is, or was' Secretary of Mr. Campbell, our 

Minister to , and they were both on a 

visit to Brussels when I met them. His name 
is Aubrey, and he told me that he lived here. 
His talents are of the first order ; his ambition 
unbounded, I should judge ; and his patient, 
laborious application certainly surpasses any- 
thing I have ever seen. It happened that a 
friend of mine, from London, was prosecuting 
certain researches among the MS. archives at 
Brussels, and here, immersed in study, he says 
he found the secretary, who completely dis- 
tanced him in his investigations, and then, with 
unexpected generosity, placed his notes at my 
friend's disposal. His industry is almost in- 
credible. Conversing with Campbell concern- 
ing him, I learned that he was a protege of the 
minister, who spoke of his future in singularly 
sanguine terms. He left him some time since 
to embark in the practice of law. Do you 
know him, Huntingdon ?" 

" No, sir ; but I know that his father was 
sentenced to the gallows, and only saved him- 
self from it by cutting his miserable throat 
and cheating the law." 

The master of the house thrust back his 
chair violently, crushing one of Paragon's in? 
nocent paws as he crouched on the carpet, 
and overturning a glass which shivered into a 
dozen fragments at his feet. 

Irene understood the scowl on his brow, but 
only she possessed the clew, and, lazily sipping 
his chocolate, Hugh added : " I recollect him 
very well as a boy ; he always had a bookish 
look, and I met him one day on the boulevard 
at Paris. He was talking to an attache of the 
American Legation as I came up, and took no 
more notice of me than if I had been one of 
the paving-stones. I could not avoid admiring 
the cool sublimity of his manner, and as I had 



snubbe'd him at school long ago, I put out my 
hand and said : ' Howdy-do, Aubrey ; pray, 
when did you cross the water?' He bowed as 
frigidly as Czar Nicholas,'and, without notic- 
ing my hand, answered : ' Good-morning, Mr. 
Seymour ; I have been in Europe two years,' 
and walked on. The day after I got home I 
met him going up the court-house steps, and 
looked him full in the face ; he just inclined 
his head, and* passed me. Confound it ! he '3 
as proud as if he had found a patent of nobility 
in digging among Belgic archives." 

"Nature furnished him with one many 
years since," replied Eric. 

" Yes ; and his coat-of-arms should be jack- 
ketch and a gallows !" sneered Mr. Hunting- 
don. 

Looking at his watch he said, as if wishing 
to cut the conversation short : 

" Irene, if you intend to go to church to- 
day, it is time that you had your bonnet on. 
Hugh, what will you do with yourself? Go 
with Eric and your cousin?" 

" No, I rather think I shall stay at home 
with you. After European cathedrals, our 
American churches seem excessively plain." 
Irene went to her room pondering the con- 
versation. She thought it remarkable that, as 
long as she had been at home, she had never 
seen Russell, even on the street. 

Unlocking her writing-desk, she took out a 
tiny note which had accompanied a check for 
two hundred dollars, and had reached her a 
few months before she left boarding-school. 
The firm, round, manly hand ran as follows : 

" With gratitude beyond all expression for 
the favor conferred on my mother and myself, 
some years since, I now return to Miss Hun- 
tingdon the money which I have ever regard- 
ed as a friendly loan. Hoping that the future 
will afford me some opportunity of proving 
my appreciation of her great kindness, 
" I remain, most respectfully, 
" Her obliged friend, 

'■ Russell Aubrey. 
" New York, September 5th." 

She was conscious of a feeling of regret 
that the money had been returned ; it was 
pleasant to reflect on the fact that she had 
laid him under obligation ; now it all seemed 
cancelled. She relocked the desk, and, draw- 
ing on her gloves, joined her uncle at the car- 
riage. Her father accompanied her so rarely 
that she scarcely missed him, and during the 
ride, as Eric seemed abstracted, she leaned 
back, and her thoughts once more reverted to 
the unfortunate topic of the breakfast-table. 
Arriving at church later than was her wont, 
she found the family pew occupied by stran- 
gers, and crossed the aisle to share a friend's, 
but at that instant a tall form rose in Mr. 
Campbell's long-vacant pew, stepped into the 
aisle, and held open the door. She drew back 
to suffer her uncle to limp in and lay aside 



MACARIA. 



77 



Lis crutches, saw him give his hand to the 
stranger, and, sweeping her veil aside as she 
entered, she saw Russell quietly resume his 
seat at the end of the pew. 

Startled beyond measure, she looked at him 
intently, and almost wondered that she recog- 
nized him, he had changed so materially since 
the day on. which she stood with him before 
his mother's gate. Meantime the service com- 
menced, she gave her hymn-book to her uncle, 
and at the same moment Russell found the 
place, and handed her one of two which lay 
near him. As she received it their eyes met, 
looked fixedly into each other, and she held 
out her hand. He took it, she felt his fingers 
tremble as they dropped hers, and then both 
faces bent over the books. When they 
knelt side by side, and the heavy folds of her 
elegant dress swept against him, it seemed a 
feverish dream to her ; she could not realize 
that, at last, they had met again, and her heart 
beat so fiercely that she pressed her hand upon 
it, dreading lest he should hear its loud pulsa- 
tions. Lowering her veil, she drew her costly 
velvet drapery about her and leaned back ; 
and the anthem 'was chanted, the solemn or- 
gan tones hushed themselves, the minister 
stood up in, the pulpit, and his dull tones fell 
on her ear and brain meaningless as the dry 
patter of dying leaves in an autumn wind. 
The outline of that tall, broad-shouldered, 
magnificently turnetl figure, replete with vig- 
orous muscular strength ; the massive, finely- 
formed head, easily, gracefully poised, like 
that of a statue ; above all, the olive-pale, 
proud face, unshaded by beard, with regular 
features sharply yet beautifully cut, like those 
in the rare gems which Benvenuto Cellini left 
the world, greeted her now, turn which way 
she would. The coat was buttoned to the 
throat, the strong arms were crossed over the 
deep chest, the piercing black eyes raised and 
fastened on the pulpit. It has been well said : 
" The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul, 
or through how many forms it has already as- 
cended." If so, his seemed brimful of destiny, 
and ceons old, in that one long unveiling look 
which they had exchanged ; deep, sparkling, 
and yet indescribably melancholy, something 
in the expression vividly recalling the Beatrice 
Cenci ; then all analogy was baffled. Elec- 
tra knew wherein consisted their wonder- 
ful charnij and because she put these eyes on 
canvas cvnnoisseurs studied and applauded 
her work. Now lace and figure, cold and un- 
relenting, stamped themselves on Irene's mem- 
ory as indelibly as those which laborious, pa- 
tient .lapidaries carve on coral or cornelian. 
The discourse was ended, the diapason of the 
organ swelled through the lofty church, priest- 
ly hands hovered like white doves over the 
congregation, dismissing all with blessing. 
Once more Irene swept back the rich lace 
veil, fully exposing her face; once more her 
eyes looked into those of the man who polite- 



ly held the pew-door open ; both bowed with 
stately grace, and she walked down the aisle. 
She heard Russell talking to her uncle just be- 
hind her, heard the inquiries concerning his 
health, the expression" of pleasure at meeting 
again, the hope which Eric uttered that he 
should see him frequently during his stay in 

W . Without even a glance over her 

shoulder, she proceeded to the carriage, where 
her uncle soon joined her — taking the front 
seat instead of sharing the back one, as is cus- 
tomary. He scrutinized his niece's counte- 
nance, but it baffled him, as on the first night 
of his arrival; the serene, colorless i'a^e show- 
ed not the slightest symptom of emotion of any 
kind. Neither spoke till they approached the 
cottage on the road-side, then she extended 
her hand and said, indifferently : 

" Your European acquaintance, the quqn- 
dam secretary, formerly lived in that little 
three-roomed house hid among the vines yon- 
der." 

" When I spoke of him this morning you did 
not mention having known him. I inferred 
from your manner that he was a stranger to 
you." 

" He is a stranger now. I knew him long 
ago, when we were children, and met "him to- 
day for the first time in some years." 

'' There is something peculiarly command- 
ing in his appearance. He impresses me with 
respect ana involuntary admiration, such as 
no man of his age ever excited before, and I 
have travelled far and wide, and have seen 
the lordliest of many lands." 

" Years have greatly changed him. He is 
less like his mother than when I knew him in 
his boyhood." 

" He is an orphan, I learned from Camp- 
bell." 

" Yes." 

She pulled the check-cord, and, as the driv- 
er stopped, she leaned out of the window, 
pointing to a mossy tuft on the margin of the 
little brook just at the foot of the hill. 
: " Andrew, if you are not afraid to leave 
' your horses, get me that cluster of violets just 
this side of the sweet-gum tree. They are the 
very earliest I have seen." 

He gathered them carefully and placed them 
in the daintily-gloved, out-stretched hand. 
She bent over them an instant, then divided 
the tiny bunch with her uncle, saying : " Spring 
has opened its blue eyes at last." 

She met his searching gaze as calmly as the 
flowerets, and as they now ueared the house, 
he forbore any further allusion to the subject, 
which he shrewdly suspected engaged her 
thoughts quite as fully as his own. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

" Irene, it is past midnight." 

She gave no intimation of having- heard him. 



73 



MACARIA. 



" " Irene, my child, it is one o'clock." 

Without looking up she raised her hand to- 
ward the clock on the mantle, and answered, 
coldly : 

" You need not sit up to tell me the time of 
night ; I have a clock here. Go to sleep, 
Uncle Eric." 

He rested his shoulder against the door- 
fa/;ing, and, leaning on his crutches, watched 
her. 

She cat there just as he had seen her sever- 
al times before, with her arms crossed on the 
table, the large celestial globe drawn near, as- 
tronomical catalogues scattered about, and a 
thick folio open before her. She wore a loose 
wrapper, or robe de chambre, of black velvet, 
lined with crimson silk and girded with a heavy 
cord and tassel. The sleeves were very full, 
and fell away from the arms, exposing them 
from the dimpled elbows, and rendering their 
pearly whiteness more apparent by contrast 
with the sabie hue of the velvet, while the 
broad round collar was pressed smoothly down, 
revealing the polished turn of the throat. The 
ivory comb lay on the table, and the unbound 
hair, falling around her shoulders, swept over 
the back of her chair and trailed on the carpet. 
A miracle of statuesque beauty was his queenly 
niece, yet he could not look at her without a 
vague feeling of awe, of painful apprehension ;, 
and, as he stood watching her motionless figure 
in its grand yet graceful pose, he sighed invol- 
untarily. She rose, shook back her magnifi- 
cent hair, and approached him. Her eyes, so 
like deep, calm azure lakes, crossed by no 
ripple, met his, and the clear, pure voice 
echoed through the still room. 

" Uncle Erie, 1 wish you would not sit np on 
my account; 1 do not like-to be watched." 

"Irene, your father- forbade your studying 
until this hour. You will accomplish nothing 
but the ruin of your health." 

"How do you know that? Do statistics 
•prove astronomers short-lived ? Rather the 
<outrary. I commend you to the contempla- 
tion of their longevity. Good-night, Uncle : 
starry dreams to you." 

" Stay, child ; what object have you in view 
in ail this laborious investigation V 

" Are you sceptical of the possibility of a 
devotion to science merely ibr science's sake ? 
Do my womanly garments shut me out of the 
Holy of Holies, debar me eternally from sacred 
arcana, think you '( Uncle Erie, once for all, 
it is not my aim to — 



-brush with extreme flonnco 



The circle of the :<eicuce^." 

I take my heart, my intellect, my life, and 
offer all upon the altar of its penetralia. You 
men doubt women's credentials for work like 
mine ; but this intellectual bigotry and mo- 
nopoly already trembles before the weight of 
stern and positive results which women lay 
before you — data for your speculations — alms 



for your calculation. In glorious attestation 
of the truth of female capacity to grapple^with 
some of the most recondite problems of science 
stand the names of Caroline Herschel, Mary 
Sommerville, Maria Mitchel, Emma YVillard, 
Mrs. Phelps, and the proud compliment paid 
to Madame Lepaute by Clairant and Lalande, 
who, at the successful conclusion of their 
gigantic computations, declared : ' The assist- 
ance rendered by her was such that, without 
her, we never should have dared to undertake 
the enormous labor in which it was necessary 
to calculate the distance of each of the two 
planets, Jupiter and Saturn, from the comet, 
separately for every degree, for one hundred 
and fifty years.' Uncle Eric, remember — 

''' -Whcso cures the ptaguo, 

Tiiough twice a v.-imv-ui. slm!! tie callecl a leech; 

Who rights :i lamVs finiuics is excused 

tfor touching coppers, though her handa be white.'" 

She took the volume she had been reading, 
selected several catalogues from the mass, and, 
lighting a small lamp, passed her uncle and 
mounted the spiral staircase leading to the 
observatory. He watched her tall form slowly 
-ascending, and, in the flashing light of the 
lamp 6he carried,, her black dress and floating 
hair seemed to belong to some veritable Ura- 
nia — some ancient Egyptic Berenice. He 
heard her open the glass door of the observa- 
tory, then the flame vanished, and the click of 
the lock fell down the dark stairway as she 
turned the key. With a heavy sigh the crip- 
ple returned to his room, there to ponder the 
singular character of the woman whom he had 
just left, and to dream that he saw her trans- 
planted to the constellations, her blue eyes 
brightening into stats, her waving hair braid- 
ing itself out into brilliant, rushing comets. 
The night was keen, still, and cloudless, and, 
as Irene locked herself in, the chill from the 
marble tiles crept through the carpet to her 
slippered feet. In the centre, of the apart- 
ment rose a wooden shaft bearing, a brass 
plate, and to this a telescope was securely 
fastened. Two chairs and an old-fashioned 
oaken table, with curious carved legs, com- 
prised the furniture. She looked at the small 
siderial clock, and finding that a quarter of an 
hour must elapse before she could make the 
desired observation, drew a chair to the table 
and seated herself. ' She took from the drawer 
a number of loose papers, and prepared the 
blank-book for registering the observation ; 
then laid before her a slate covered with 
figures, and began to run over the calculation. 
At the close of fifteen minutes she placed her- 
self at the telescope, and waited patiently for 
the appearance of a small star which gradu- 
ally entered the field; she noted the exact 
moment and position, transferred the result 
to the register, and after a time went back to 
slate and figures. Cautiously she went over 
the work, now and then having recourse to 
pen and paper ; she reached the bottom of the 



MACAEIA. 



79 



slate and turned it over, moving one finger 
along the lines. The solution was wrong ; a 
mistake had been made somewhere ; she press- 
ed her palm on her forehead, and thought 
over the whole question ; then, began again. 
The work was tedious, the calculation subtle, 
and she attached great importance to the re- 
sult; the second examination was fruitless as 
the first ; time was wearing away ; where could 
the error be ? Without hesitation she turned 
back for the third time, and commenced at the 
first, slowly, patiently threading the maze. 
Suddenly she paused and smiled ; there was 
the mistake, glaring enough, now. She cor- 
rected it, and working the sum through, found 
the result perfectly accurate, according fully 
-with the tables of Leverrier by which she 
was computing. She carefully transferred the 
operation from slate to paper, and, after num- 
bering the problem with great particularity, 
placed all in the drawer and turned the key. 
it was three o'clock ; she opened the door, 
drew her chair out on the little gallery, and 
sat down, looking toward the East. The air 
y/as crisp but still, unswayed by current waifs ; 
no sound swept its crystal waves save the low, 
monotonous distant thunder of the Falls, and 
the deep, cloudless blue ocean of space glowed 
with its numberless argosies of stellar worlds. 
Constellations which, in the purple twilight, 
stood sentinel at the horizon, -had marched in 
majesty to mid-heaven, taken reeonnoissance 
thence, and as solemnly passed the opposite 
horizon to report to watching gazers in an- 
other hemisphere. " Scouts stood upon avary 
headland, on every jplain ;" mercilessly the in- 
quisitorial eye of science followed the heaven- 
ly wanderers ; there was no escape from the 
eager, sleepless police who kept vigil in every 
clime and country ; as well call on Bootes to 
give o'er his care of Ursa-Major, as hopelessly 
attempt to thrust him from the ken of Cyno- 
sura. From her earliest recollection, and es- 
pecially from the hour of entering school, as- 
tronomy and mathematics had exerted an over- 
mastering influence upon Irene's mind. The 
ordinary text- books only increased her inter- 
est in the former science, and while in New 
York, with the. aid of the professor of astrono- 
my, she had possessed herself of all the mo.->t 
eminent works bearing upon the subject, send- 
ing across the Atlantic for tables and seleno- 
graphic charts which were not to Be procured 
in America. 

Under singularly favorable auspices she had 
pursued her studies pe.rseveringly, methodi- 
cally, and, despite her father's prohibition, 
indefatigably. He had indulged, in earlier 
years, a penchant for the same science, and 
cheerfully facilitated her progress by rear- 
ranging the observatory so as to allow full 
play for' her fine telescope ; but, though proud 
of her proficiency, he objected most strenu- 
ously to her devoting so large a share of her 
tame and attention to this study, and had posi- 



tively interdicted all observations after twelve 
o'clock. Most girls patronize certain branches 
of investigation with fitful, spasmodic vehe- 
mence, or periodic impulses of enthusiasm ; 
but Irene knew no intermission of interest, 
she hurried over no details, and, when the 
weather permitted, never failed to make her 
nightly visit to the observatory. She loved 
iier work as a painter his canvas, or the 
sculptor the marble one day to enshrine his 
cherished ideal ; and she prosecuted it, not as 
a mere pastime, not as a toy, but as a life-long 
labor, ior the labor's sake. To-night, as her 
drooping palms nestled to each other, and her 
eyes searched the vast jewelled dome above, 
Thought, unwearied as the theme it pondered, 
flew back to the dim gray dawn of Time, 
-" When the morning-stars sang together, and 
all the sons of God shouted for joy." In pan- 
oramic vision she crossed the dusty desert of 
centuries, and watched with Chaldean shep- 
herds the pale, sickly light of waning moons 
on Shinar's plains ; welcomed the gnomon 
(first-born of the great family of astronomic 
apparatus) ; toiled over and gloried in the 
Zarod ; stood at the armiilary sphere of Ju, in 
the days of Confucius ; studied with Thales, 
Anaximander, and Pythagoras ; entered the 
sacred precincts of the school of Crotona, 
hand in hand with Damo, the earliest woman 
who bowed a devotee at the starry sjirine, and, 
with her, was initiated into its esoteric doe- 
trihes ; puzzled with Mcton over his lunar 
cycle ; exulted in llipparchns' gigantic labor, 
the first collection of tables, the earliest relia- 
ble catalogues ; walked through the Alexan- 
drine school of savans, misled by Ptolemy ; 
and bent with Uliegh Beigh over the charts 
at Samarcand. In imagination she accompa- 
nied Copernicus and Tycho-Brahe, and wres- 
tled with Kepler in the titanic struggle that 
ended in the discovery of the magnificent trin- 
ity of astronomic laws framed by the Divine 
Architect when the first star threw its faint 
shimmer through the silent wastes of space. 
Kepler's three laws were an unceasing wonder 
and joy to her, and wjth fond, womanly pride 
she was wont to recur to a lonely observatory 
in- Silesia, where, before Newton rose upon 
the world, one of her own sex, Maria Cunitz, 
launched upon the stormy sea of scientific liter- 
ature the '• Urania Propitia." The Congress 
of Lilienthal possessed far more of interest for 
her than any which ever sat in august council 
over the fate of nations, and the names of 
Ilerschel, Bessel, Argelander, Struve, Arago, 
Leverrier, and Maedler were sacred as Per- 
sian telefin. From the " Almagest" of Ptole- 
my, and the " Cometographie " of Pingre", to 
the "Meeanique Celeste," she had searched 
and toiled ; and now the sublime and almost 
bewildering speculations of Maedier held her 
spell-bound. The delicate, subtle, beautiful 
problem of parallax had heretofore exerted 
the strongest fascination over her; but this 



80 



MACAPJA. 



magnificent hypothesis of a " central sun," I 
from the monarch of computations at Dorpat, 
seized upon herimagination with painful tenac- 
ity. From the hour when Kepler stretched 
out his curious fingers, feeling for the shape of 
planetary orbits, or Leverrier groped through 
abysses of darkness lor the unknown Nep- 
tune, which a sceptical world declared existed 
only in his mathematical calculations, no such 
daring or stupendous speculation had been 
breathed as this which Maedier threw down 
from his Russian observatory. Night after 
night she gazed upon the pleiades, singling 
out Alcyone, the brilliant central sun of the 
mighty astral system, whose light met her 
eager eyes after the long travel of live hundred 
and thirty-seven years ; and, following in the 
footsteps of the great speculator, she tried to. 
grasp the result, that the period of one revo- 
lution of our sun and system around that glit- 
tering centre was eighteen million two hun- 
dred thousand years. 

The stony lips of geology asserted that our 
globe was growing old, thousands of genera- 
tions had fallen asleep in the bosom of mother- 
earth, the ashes of centuries had gathered 
upon the past, were creeping over the present ; 
and yet, in the face of catacombs, and mum- 
mies, and mouldering monuments, chiselled in 
the infancy of the human race, mathematics 
unrolled her figured scroll, and proclaimed 
that Time had but begun ; that ehiliasms must 
elapse, that aeons on sons must roll away, be- 
fore the first revolution of the starry universe 
could be completed about its far-off Alcyone 
centre. What mattered human labors, what 
need of trophies of human genius, of national 
grandeur, or individual glory V Eighteen 
millions of years would level all in one huge, 
common, shapeless ruin. In comparison with 
the mighty mechanism of the astral system, 
the solar seemed a mere tiny cluster of jewels 
set in some infiryte abyss; the sun shrank into 
insignificance, the moon waned, the planiets 
became little gleaming points of light, such as 
her diamond-ring threw off when held* under 
gas-chandeliers. Perish the microcosm in the 
limitless macrocosm, and^sink the feeble earth- 
ly segregate in the boundless, rushing, choral 
aggregation ! She was oppressed by the stu- 
pendous nature of the problem; human reason 
and imagination reeled under the vastness of 
the subject which they essayed to contemplate 
and measure ; and to-night, as she pondered 
in silent awe the gigantic, overwhelming laws 
of God's great Cosmos, by some subtle associa- 
tion there flashed upon her memory the sybil- 
lic inscription on the Temple of Neith at Sais : 
"I am all that has been, all that is, all that 
will be. No mortal has ever raised the veil 
■which conceals me; and the fruit I have pro- 
duced is the sun." Had Maedier, with teles- 
copic insight, climbed by mathematical ladders 
to the starry adyta of nature, and triumphantly 
raised the mystic veil ? With a feeling of 



adoration which no language could adequately 
convey she gazed upon nebulas, and suns, and 
systems ; and with the solemn reflection that 
some, like Cassiopeia's lost jewel, might be per- 
ishing, wrapped in the last conflagration, while 
their light still journeyed to her, she recalled 
the feverish yet sublime vision of the great 
German dreamer: " Once we issued suddenly 
from the middle of thickest night into an 
aurora borealis — the herald of an expiring 
world — and we found, throughout this cycle of 
solar systems, that a day of judgment had in- 
deed arrived. The suns had sickened, ami 
the planets were heaving, rocking, yawning 
in convulsions ; the subterraneous waters of 
the great deeps were breaking up, and light- 
nings that were ten diameters of a world in 
length ran along from zenith to nadir; and, 
here and there, where aaun should have been, 
we saw, instead, through the misty vapor, a 
gloomy, ashy-leaden corpse of a solar body, 
that sucked in flames from the periling world, 
but .gave out neither light nor heat. 
Then came eternities of twilight that revealed 
but were not revealed ; on the right hand and 
on the left towered mighty constellations, that 
by self-repetitious and answers from afar, that 
by counter-positions built up triumphal gates, 
whose architraves, whose archways — horizon- 
tal, upright— rested, rose at altitude by spans 
— that seemed ghostly from infinitude. With- 
out measure were the architraves, past num- 
ber were the archways, beyond memory the 
gates. Suddenly, as thus we rode from infin- 
ite to infinite, and tilted over abyssmal worlds, 
a mighty ary arose, that systems more myste- 
rious, that worlds more billowy, other heights 
and other depths, were coming, were nearmg, 
were at hand. Then the angel threw up his 
glorious hands to the heaven of heavens, say- 
ing : ' End is there none to the universe of 
God. Lo.! also, there is no beginning.'" 

Among the mysteries of the Crotona school 
the Samian sage had taught the " music of the 
spheres," and to-night Irene dwelt upon the 
thought of that grand choir of innumerable 
worlds, that.mighty orchestra of starry systems, 

"Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault, 
The pealing autheni swells the note of praise" 

unceasingly to the Lord of glory, till her firm 
lips relaxed, and the immortal words of Shaks- 
peare fell slowly from them : 

" Look how the floor of heaven 
Is thick inlaid with patiuos of bright gold : 
There : s not the smallest orb which thou behold'st 
But in his motion like an angel sings. 
Still quiring to the young-eyed chcrubims. 
Such harniuny is in immortal souls ; 
lint whilst this muddy vesture of decay 
Doth grossly close it in, we can not hear it." 

That the myriad members of the shining 
archipelago were peopled with orders of intef 
ligent beings, differing from our race even at 
the planets differ in magnitude and physical 
structure, she entertained not a doubt; and as 



MACARIA. 



81 



feeble Fancy struggled to grasp and compre- 
hend the ultimate destiny of the countless 
hosts of immortal creatures (to which our 
earthly races, with their distinct, unalterable 
types, stood but as one small family circle 
amid clustering worlds) her wearied brain and 
human heart bowed humbly, reverently, wor- 
shippingly before the God of Revelation, who 
can "bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or 
loose the bands of Orion ; bring forth Mazza- 
roth in his season, and guide Arcturus with 
his sons." Kneeling there, with the twinkling 
light of stars upon her upturned face, she 
prayed earnestly for strength and grace and 
guidance from "on High, that she might so live 
and govern herself that, when the season of 
earthly probation ended, she could fearlessly 
pass to her eternal home and joyfully meet the 
awful face of Jehovah. 

The night was almost spent ; she knew from 
the " celestial clock-work " that Day blushed 
just beyond the horizon ; that, ere long, silver- 
gray fingers would steal up the quiet sky, 
parting the sable curtains ; and, taking the 
lamp, she hung the observatory-key upon her 
girdie, and glided noiselessly down the stair- 
way to her own apartment. 

Paragon slept on the threshold, and raised 
his head to greet her ; she stooped, stroked his 
silky ears, and closed the door, shutting him 
out. Fifteen minutes later she, too, was sleep- 
ing soundly ; and an hour and a half afterward, 
followed by that faithful guardian " dweller of 
the threshold," she swept down the steps, and, 
amid the. matin-chant of forest-birds, mounted 
En-bus and dashed off at full gallop for the 
customary ride. No matter what occurred to 
prevent her sleeping, she invariably rode be- 
fore breakfast when the weather permitted ; 
and as her midnight labors left few hours for 
repose, she generally retired to her room im- 
mediately after dinner and indulged in the 
luxury of a two hours' nap. Such was a por- 
tion of the regimen she had prescribed for her- 
self on her return from school, and which she 
suffered only the inclemency of the weather to 
infringe. 



CHAPTER XVHI. 

" Surely, Uncle Eric, there is room enough 
in this large, airy house of ours to accommo- 
date my mother's brother ? I thought it was 
fully settled that you were to reside with us. 
There is no good reason why you should not. 
Obviously, we have a better claim upon you 
than anybody else ; why doom yourself to the 
loneliness of a separate household ? Recon- 
sider the matter." 

'* No, Irene ; it is better that I should have 
a quiet little home of my own, free from the in- 
evitable restraint incident to residing under 
the roof of another. My recluse nature and 
habits unfit me for the gay young associates 
6 



who throng this house, making carnival-time 
of all seasons." 

" I will change the library, and give you two 
rooms on this floor, to avoid stair-steps ; I will 
build you a wall of partition, and have your 
doors and windows hermetically sealed against 
intrusion. N© sound of billiard-ball, or dan- 
cing feet, or noisy laughter shall invade your 
sanctuary. Not St. Simeon, of isolated memo- 
ry, could desire more complete seclusion and 
solitude than thai with which I shall indulge 
you." 

" It is advisable that I should go." 

" I appreciate neither the expediency nor 
necessity." 

". Like all other crusty, self-indulgent bache- 
lors, I have manv whims, which I certainly do 
not expect people to bear patiently." 

" You are neither crusty nor self-indulgent, 
that I have discovered ; as for your whims, I 
have large charity, and will humor them." 

" Irene, I want a house of my own, to which 
I can feel privileged to invite such guests, suifli 
companions, as I deem congenial, irrespective 
of the fiats of would-be social autocrats and 
the social ostracism of certain cliques." 

She was silent a moment, but met his keen 
look without the slightest embarrassment, and 
yet when she spoke he knew, from her eyes 
and voice,, that she fully comprehended his 
meaning. 

" Of course, it is a matter which you must 
determine for yourself. You are the best 
judge of what conduces to your happiness ; 
but I am sorry, very sorry, Uncle Eric, that, in 
order to promote it, you feel it necessary to re- 
move from our domestic circle. I shall miss 
you painfully." 

" Pardon me, but I doubt the last clause. 
You lean on no one sufficiently to note the ab- 
sence of their support." 

" Do you recognize no difference between 
a parasitic clinging and an affectionate friend- 
ship — a valued companionship based on conge- 
nial tastes and sympathies ?" 

" Unquestionably, I admit and appreciate 
the distinction ; * but you do not meet me full- 
eyed, open-handed, on this common platform 
of congeniality, strengthened as it is, or should 
be, by near relationship. You confront me 
always with your emotional nature mail-clad, 
and make our intercourse a mere, intellectual 
fencing-match. Now, mark you, I have no 
wish to force your confidence ; that is a curious 
and complex lock, which only the golden key 
of perfect love and trust should ever open ; 
and I simply desire to say that your constitu- 
tional reticence or habitual reserve precludes 
the hope of my rendering you either assistance 
or sympathy by my continued presence." 

" Uncle Eric, it arises from no want of trust 
in you, but in the consciousness that only I can 
help myself. I have more than once heard 
you quote Wallenatein ; have so soon forgotten 
his words : 



82 



MACARIA. 



" f Permit her own will. 
For there are sorrows, 
Where, of necessity, the soul must be 
Its own support. A strong heart will rery 
On its own strength alone.' " 

"But, my dear girl, you certainly are no 
Thekla ■" 

Was there prescience in his question, and 
a quick recognition of it in the quiver which 
ran across her lips and eyelids? 

" The Fates forbid that I should ever be !" ■ 
"Ireiie, ia the name and memory of your 
mother, promise me one thing : that if sorrows 
assail you, and a third party can bear aught 
on his shoulders, you will call upon me/' 

" A most improbable conjunction of circum- 
stances; but, in such emergency, I promise to 
afflict you with a summons to the rescue. 
Uncle Erie, I think I shall never gall any 
shoulders but my own with the burdens which 
God may see fit to lay on them in the coming 
years." 

He looked pained, puzzled, and irresolute ; 
Mut she smiled, and swept her fingers over the 
bars of her bird-cage, toying with its golden- 
throated inmate*. 

" Have you any engagement for this morn- 
ing?" 

" None, sir. What can I do for you ?" 
" If you feel disposed, I should be glad to 
have you accompany me to town ; I want 
your assistance in selecting a set of china for 
my new home. Will you go ?" 

A shadow drifted over the colorless tranquil 
face as she said, sadly : 

" Uncle Eric, y is it utterly useless for me to 
attempt to persuade you to relinquish this proj- 
ect and remain with us ?" 

" Utterly useless, my dear child." 
" I will get my bonnet, and join you at the 
carriage." 

Very near the cottage formerly occupied by 
Mrs. Aubrey stood a small brick house, par- 
tially concealed by poplar and sycamore trees, 
and surrounded by a neat, well-arranged (low- 
er-garden. This was the place selected and 
purchased by the cripple for his future home. 
Mr. Huntingdon had opposed the whole pro- 
ceeding, and invited his brother-in-law to 
reside with him ; but beneath the cordial sur- 
face the guest felt that other sentiments rolled 
deep and strong. He had little in common 
with his sister's husband, and only a warm and 
increasing affection for his niece now induced 

him to settle in W . Some necessary 

repairs had been made, some requisite arrange- 
ments completed regarding servants, and to- 
day the finishing touches were given to the 
snug little bachelor establishment. When it 
•was apparent that no arguments would avail 
to alter the decision, Irene ceased to speak of 
it, and busied herself in various undertakings 
to promote her uncle's comfort. She, made 
pretty white curfains for his library-windows, 
knitted bright-colored worsted lanip-mtts, and 
hemmed and marked the contents of the linen- 



closet. The dining-room pantry she took un- 
der her special charge, and at the expiration 
often days, when the master took formal pos- 
session, she accompanied him, and enjoyed the 
pleased surprise with which- he received her 
donation of cakes, preserves, catchups, pickles, 
etc., etc., neatly stowed away on the spotless 
shelves- 

" I shall make a weekly pilgrim-age to this 
same pantry, and take an inventory of its con- 
tents. I intend to take good care of you, 
though you have moved off, Diogenes-like.'" 

She stepped forward, and arranged some 
oda;-s jars which stood rather irregularly. 

'■ How prim and old niaidish you are '" 
laughed her uncle. 

" 1 never could bear to see things scattered 
in that helter-skelter style ; I like bottles, jars, 
plates, and dishes drilled into straight lines, 
not leaning in and out, in that broken* rank 
fashion. 1 am not given to boasting, but I will 
say that no housekeeper can show a nicer, 
neater pantry than my. own." 

" What have you in that basket r" 

" Flowers from the greenhouse. Come into 
the library, and let me dress your new vases." 

He followed her into the next room, and 
watched her as she leisurely and tastefully 
disposed her flowers ; now searching the basket 
for a sprig of evergreen, and now bending ob- 
stinate stems to make stiff clusters lean loving- 
ly to each other. Placing the vases on the 
mantle, she stepped back to inspect the effect, 
and said, gravely : 

" How beautiful they are ! Let me always 
dress your vases, Uncle. Women have a knack 
of intertwining stems and grouping colors: our 
fingers were ordained for all such embroidery 
on the coarse gray serue of stern, practical 
e very-day life. You men are more at home 
with state papers, machine-shpps, navies, 
armies, political economy, and agricultural 
chemistry than with fragile azaleas and golden- 
dusted lilies." 

Before he could reply she turned and asked : 

" What do these large square boxes in the 
hall contain ?" 

" Books which I gathered in Europe and 
selected in New York ; among them many- 
rare old volumes, which you have never seen. 
Come down next Monday, and help me to 
number and shelve them; afterward, we will 
read them together. Lay aside your bonnet, 
and spend the evening with me." 

'■ No, 1 must go back ; Hugh sent me word 
that he would bring company to tea." 

He took her hand and drew her close to his 
chair, saying gently : 

"Ah, Irene ! I wish I could keep you al- 
ways. You would be happier here, in this, 
little unpretending home of mine, than presid- 
ing as mistress over that great palatial house 
on the hill yonder." 

" There you mistake me most entirely. I 
love, better than any other place on earth, my 



i MAC ARIA. 



83 



stately, elegant, beautiful home. Not Fon- 
tainebleau, Windsor, Potsdam; not the vine- 
yards of Shiraz, or the gardens of Damascus, 
could win me from it. I love every tree, every 
creeper, every foot of ground from the front- 
gate to the brink of the creek. If you sup- 
pose that I am not happy there, you err 
egregiousiv." 
" My intuitions rarely deceive me." 
"At least, Uncle Eric, they play yon false in 
this instance. Why, sir, I would not give my 

frand old avenue of primeval elms lor St. 
'eter's nave. Your intuitions are full of cob- 
webs ; have them well swept and dusted before 
I see you Monday. Good-night, Uncle ; I 
must really go If you find we have forgotten 
anything, send Willis up l'or it." 

He kissed her fingers tenderly, and, taking 
her basket, she left him alone in his new home. 

A few weeks passed without incident ; liui/h 
went to Mew Orleans to visit friends, and Mr. 
Huntingdon was frequently absent at the plan- 
tation. 

One day he expressed the desire that Judge 
Harris' family should dine with him, and ad- 
ded several gentlemen, " to make the party 
merry." Irene promptly issued the invita- 
tions, suppi easing the reluctance which filled 
her heart ; for the young people were not fa- 
vorites, and she dreaded Charlie's set speeches 
and admiring glances, not less than his mother's 
'endless disquisitions on fashion and the pedi- 
gree of all the best families of W and 

its vicinage. Grace had grown up very pretty, 
highly accomplished, even-tempered, gentle- 
hearted, but lull of her mother's fashionable 
notions, and, withal, rather weak and frivo- 
lous. She and Irene were constantly thrown 
into each other's society, but no warmth of 
feeling existed on either side. Grace could 
not comprehend her companion's character, 
and Irene wearied of her gay, heedless chit- 
chat. As the latter anticipated, the day proved 
very tiresome ; the usual complement ot' music 
waa contributed by Grace, the expected quan- 
tity of flattering nothings gracefully uttered 
by her brother, the customary amount of exe- 
crable puns handed around the circle for pat- 
ronage, and Irene gave the signal tor dinner. 
Mr. Huntingdon prided himself on his fine 
wines, and, after the decanters had circulated 
freely, the gentlemen grew garrulous as mar- 
ket-women. 

Irene was gravely discussing the tariff ques- 
tion with Mr. Herbert Blackwell (whom Mrs. 
Harris pronounced the most promising young 
lawyer of her acquaintance)', and politely 
listening to his stereotyped reasoning, when a 
scrap of conversation at the opposite end ol 
the table attracted her attention. 

" Huntingdon, my dear fellow, I tell you I 
never made a mistake in my life, when reading 

People's minds; and if Aubrey has not the 
nest legal intellect in W , 1 will throw 

up my judgeship. You have seen Campbell, 



I suppose ? He returned last week, and, by 
the way," I half-expected to meet him to-day'; 
well, I was talking to him about Aubrey, and 
he laughed his droll, chuckling laugh, snapped 
his bony fingers in my face, and said : 

"Aye ! aye, Harris ! let him alone ; hands off! 
and I will wager my new office against your, old 
one that he steps into your honor's shoes. Now 
you know perfectly well that Campbell has no 
more enthusiasm than a brick wall or a roll of 
red tape ; but he is as proud of the yotm<* man 
as if he were his son. Do you know that he 
has taken him into partnership V" 

" Pshaw ! he will never commit such a faux 
pas. 

•'But he has; I read the notice in this 
morning's paper. Pass the madeira. The. fact 
is, we must not allow our old prejudices to 
make us unjust. 1 know Aubrey has struggled 
hard ; he had much to contend — " 

" Hang Campbell and the partnership ! He 
will find that he has played the fool before he 
gets rid of his precious pet. Miss Grace, do 
let me fill your glass ? My young prude there 
at the head of the table just sips hers as if she 
['eared it was poisoned. Mrs. Harris, you have 
no sherry ; permit me." 

" The young mill's antecedents are most 
disgraceful, Mr. Huntingdon, and 1 told the 
judge last night that I was surprised at Mr. 
Campbell's infatuation," chimed in Mrs. Har- 
ris over her golden sherry. 

" Whose antecedents, Mother ?" 

" My dear, we were speaking of Russell 
Aubrey, and the stigma on lis name and 
character." 

" Oh, yes ! His father was sentenced to 
be hung, I believe, and committed suicide in 
prison. But what a splendid, dai k'-looking 
man he is ! Decidedly the most superb figure 

and eyes iu W . Shy, though ! shy as a 

school girl ; will cross the street to avoid meet- 
ing a body. When he finds that he can not 
dodge you, he gives you the lull benefit of his 
magnificent eyes, and bows as haughtily as 
Great Mogul. Maria. Henderson goes into 
raptures over his figure." 

With head slightly inclined, and eyes fixed 
oh Mr. Biackwell's face, Irene had heard all 
that passed, and as the. gentleman paused in 
his harangue to drain his glass, she rose and led 
the way to the parlors. The gentlemen ad- 
journed to the smoking-room, and in a short 
time Mrs. Harris ordered her carriage, plead- 
ing an engagement with Grace » mantua- 
maker as an excuse for leaving so earl\ . With 
a feeling of infinite relfef the hostess accom- 
panied them to the door, sau r the carriage 
descend the avenue, and, desiring one of the 
servants to have Erebus saddled at unce, she 
went to her room and changed the rich dinner- 
dress for her riding-habit. As she sp.-aii" into 
the saddle, and gathered up the ivins, her 
father called from the open wind.. .v, whenc* 
| issued curling wreaths of blue smoke : 



34 



MACABJA. 



" Wli3re now, Irene ?" 

" I am going to ride ; it threatened rain this 
morning, and I was afraid to venture." 

He said something, but without -hearing she 
rode off, and was soon out of sight, leaving the 
town to the left, and taking "the road that 
wound along the river-bank — the same where, 
years before, she had cantered with Grace, 
Hugh, and Charlie. It was a windless, sunny 
April afternoon ; trees were freshly robed in 
new-born fringy foliage, green and glistening ; 
long grassy slopes looked like crinkled velvet, 
starred with delicate pale blue houstonias ; 
wandering woodbine trailed its coral trumpets 
in and out of grass and tangled shrubs, and 
late wood-azaleas loaded the air with their 
delicious, intoxicating perfume. Irene felt un- 
wontedly depressed ; the day had wearied her; 
she shook the reins, and the beautiful horse 
sprang on in a quick gallop! For a mile far- 
ther they dashed along the river bank, and 
then, reining him up, she leaned forward and 
drew a long, deep breath. The scene was 
surpassingly quiet and beautiful ; on either 
side wooded hills came down, herd-like, to the 
edge of the stream, to lave their thirsty sides 
and listen to the continual solemn monotone 
of the foaming falls; here a small flock of 
sheep browsed on the young waving grass, and 
there contented-looking cows, with glossy satin 
skins, sauntered homeward — taking the road 
with as much precision as their Swiss sisters to 
the tune of Ranz des Vaches-; the broad river 
sweeping down its rocky pavement, and, over 
all, a mellow April sky of intense blue, with 
whirls of creamy vapor, sinuous as floss silk. 
Close to the margin of the river grew a luxu- 
riant mass of ivy, and now the dark shining 
foliage was flecked with tiny rosy buds and 
well-biown waxen petals, crimped into fairy- 
like cups, and tinted as no Sevres china ever 
will be. Urging Erebus into the thicket, 
Irene broke as many clusters as she could 
conveniently carry ; dragged a long tangled 
wreath of late jasmine from its seclusion, fast- 
ened it across the pommel of the saddle, and 
turned her horse's head homeward. The sight 
of these ivy cups recalled the memory of her 
Aunt Margaret ; they had been her favorite 
Mowers, and as thought now took another 
channel, she directed her way to the grave- 
yard. She always rode rapidly, and, ere long, 
Erebus' feet drew sparks from the rocky road 
leading up the hill-side to the cemetery-gate. 
Dismounting, she fastened the reins to one of 
the iron spikes, and, 'gathering the folds of her 
habit over her arm, carried her flowers to the 
family burying-ground. It was a large square 
lot, enclosed by a handsome railing and tall 
gate, bearing the name of " Huntingdon " in 
silver letters. As she approached, she was 
surprised to find a low brick wall and beautU 
iitl new marble monument close to her father's 
lot, and occupying a space which had been 
filled with grass and weeds a few weeks pre- 



vious. While she paused, wondering whose 
was the new monument, and resolved to ex- 
amine it, a tall form stepped from behind the 
column and stood, with folded arms, looking 
down at the grave. There was no mistaking 
face or figure ; evidently he was' unaware of 
her presence, though she was near enough- to 
mark the stern sorrow written on his counte- 
nance. She glided forward and opened the 
heavy gate of her own enclosure ; with diffi- 
culty she pushed it ajar, and with a sudden, 
sharp, clanging report it swung back, and the 
bolt slid to its rusty place. He lifted -his eyes 
then, and saw her standing a few yards from 
him ; the rich soft folds of the Marie Louise 
blue riding-dress trailed along the ground ; 
the blue velvet hat, with its long drooping 
plume, had become loosened by the exercise, 
and, slipping back, left fully exposed the daz- 
zling white face, and golden glory of waving 
hair. She bowed, he returned the silent token 
of recognition, and she moved forward to her 
aunt's tomb, wreathing it with the flowers 
which Miss Margaret had loved so well. The 
sun was low, leaning upon the purple crest of 
a distant hill ; the yellow light flashed over 
the forest of marble pillars, and their cold pol- 
ished surfaces gave back the waning glare, 
throwirrg it off contemptuously, as if sunshine 
were a mockery in that silent city of the dead. 
Sombre sacred guardian cedars extended 
their arms lovingly over the marble couches 
of fair young sleepers in God's Acre, and. 
venerable willows wept over many a stela, 
whose inscription lichen-footed Time had ef- 
faced. Here slept two generations of the 
Huntingdons, and the last scion <?f the proud 
old house stood up among the hoarded bones 
of her ancestry, glancing round at the moss- 
stained costly mausoleums, and noting .the 
fact that the crowded lot had room for but 
two more narrow beds— two more silent citi- 
zens — her father and herself. It was a reflec- 
tion which she had little inclination to linger 
over, and, retaining a beautiful cluster of ivy 
and jasmine, she left the enclosure, keeping 
her eyes fixed on the ground. 

As she passed the new lot the gate swung 
open, and Russell stood before her. 

" Good-evening, Miss Huntingdon." 

" Good-evening, Mr. Aubrey." 

The name sounded strange and harsh as she 
uttered it, and involuntarily she paused and 
held out her hand. He accepted it ; for an 
instant the cold fingers lay in his warm palm, 
and as she withdrew them he said, in the rich 
mellow voice which she had heard in the 
church : 

" Allow me to show you my mother's monu- 
ment." 

He held the gate open, and she entered, and 
stood at his side. The monument was beauti- 
ful in its severe simplicity — a pure, faultless 
shaft, crowned with a delicately-chiselled 
wreath of poppy leaves, and bearing these 



MAC ARIA. 



85 



words in gilt letters : " Sacred to the memory 
of my mother Amy Aubrey." Just below, in 
black characters, "Resurgam ;" and, under- 
neath the whole, on a finely-fluted scroll, the 
inscription of St. Gilgen. After a silence of 
some moments Russell pointed to the singular 
and solemn words, and said, as if speaking 
rather to himself than to her : 

"I want to say always, with Paul Flem- 
ming,- ' I. will be strong,' and therefore I placed 
here the inscription which proved an evangel 
to him, that when I come to my mother's 
grave I may be strengthened, not melted ; by 
the thronging of bitter memories." 

She looked up as he spoke, and the melan- 
choly splendor of the deep eyes stirred her 
heart as nothing had ever done before. 

"I have a few flowers left ; let me lay them 
as an affectionate tribute, an ' in memmriam ' 
on your mother's tomb — for the olden time, 
the cottage-days, are as fresh in my recollec- 
tion as in yours." 

She held out the woodland bouquet ; he. took 
it, and strewed the blossoms along the broad 
base of the shaft, reserving only a small clus- 
ter of the rosy china-cups. Both were silent ; 
but, as she turned to go, a sudden gust blew 
her hat from her head, the loosened comb fell 
upon the grass, and down came the heavy 
masses of hair. She twisted them hastily into 
a coil, fastened them securely, and received 
her hat from him, with a cool : 

" Thank you, sir ; when did you hear from 
Electra ?" 

They walked on to the cemetery-gate, and 
he answered : 

"I have heard nothing for some weeks. 
Have you any message ? I am going to New 
York in a few days, to try to persuade her to 
return to W with me." 

" I doubt the success of your mission ; 

W has little to tempt an artist like 

your cousin. Be kind enough to tender her 
my love and best wishes for the realization of 
her artistic dreams." 

They had reached the gate where Erebus 
waited, when Russell took off his hat reverent- 
ly, and pointed to the western sky all 
" aflame." Masses of purple, scarlet, gold, 
amber, and pure, pale, opaline green blended 
in one magnificent conflagration'; and toward 
the zenith tortuous feathery braids and dashes 
of blood-red cirri, gleaming through the mild, 
balmy air like coral reefs in some breezeless 
oriental sea. 

" No soft, neutral, sober ' Graife ' there," 
said Irene, lifting her hand to the glowing 
cloud-panorama. 

He took up the quotation promptly, and 
added : 

,"'The_ Angel of the Sea' is abroad on his 
immemorial mission, the soft wings droop still 
with dew, and the shadows of their plumes 
falter on the hill; strange laughings and glit- 
terings of silver streamlets, born suddenly, and 



twined about the mossy heights in trickling 
tinsel, answering to them as they wave. The 
coiled locks of ' hundred-lieaded Typhon' 
leave no menace yonder." 

He paused, and turning suddenly, with a 
piercing look at his companion, continued : 

" Miss Huntingdon, ' on what anvils and 
wheels is the vapor pointed, twisted, hammer- 
ed," whirled as the potter's clay ? By what 
hands is the incense of the sea built up into 
domes of marble ?' " 

" I see that you follow assiduously the beck 
of Nature's last anointed hierophant, and go 
in and out with the seer, even among the 
cherubim and seraphim of his metropolitan 
cathedral, with its 'gates of rock, pavements 
of cloud, choirs of stream, altars of snow, and 
vaults of purple, traversed by the continual 
stars." 

" Yes ; I am a reverent student and warm 
admirer of John Ruskin. I learned to love 
him first through the recommendations of my 
cousin ; then for his gorgeous, unapproachable 
word-painting." 

While they talked, the brilliant pageant 
faded, the coral banks paled to snowy lines, as 
if the blue waves of air were foam-crested, and 
in the valley below rose the dusky outline of 
dark-haired, wan-browed, gray-clad" Twilight, 
stealing her " sober livery " over the flushed 
and fretted bosom of the murmuring river. 

" You have a long walk to town," said Irene, 
as Russell arranged her horse's reins. 

" I shall not find it long. It is a fine piece 
of road, and the stars will be up to light it." 

He held out his hand to assist her ; she 
sprang easily to the saddle, then leaned to- 
ward him, every statue-like curve and mould- 
ing of her proud ivory face stamping them- 
selves on his recollection as she spoke. 

" Be so good as to hand me my glove ; I 
dropped it at your feet as I mounted. Thank 
you. Good-evening, Mr. Aubrey ; take my 
best wishes on your journey and its mission." 

" Good-by, Miss Huntingdon." He raised 
his hat, and, as she wheeled off, the magnetic 
handsome face followed, haunted her. Erebus 
was impatient, out of humor, and flew up the 
next steep hill as if he, too, were haunted. 
Glancing back as she reached the summit, 
Irene saw the erect, stern, solitary figure at 
the extremity of the wooded vista, and in that 
mystical dim light he looked a colossal aveng- 
ing Viking. 

Once more, as in- childhood, she heard the 
whirr of the loom of Destiny ; and to-night, - 
catching sight of the Parcse fingers, she knew 
that along the silver warp of her life ran dark 
alien threads, interweaving all in one shape- 
less, tangled web.. 

On through gathering gloom dashed horse 
and rider, over the little gurgling stream, 
through the gate, up the dark, rayless avenr.e 
to the door-step. The billiard-room was a 
blaze of light, and the cheerful sound of min- 



88 



MACAEIA. 



gled voices came out at the open window, to 
tell that the gentlemen had not yet finished 
their game. Pausing in the hall, Irene lis- 
tened an instant to distinguish the voices, then 
ascended the long, easy staircase. The lamp 
threw a mellow radiance on the steps, and as 
she reached the landing Hugh caught her in 
his arms and kissed her warmly. Startled by 
his unexpected appearance, she recoiled a 
step or two and asked, rather haughtily : 

" When did you get home ?" 

" Only a few moments after you left the 
house. Do change your dress quickly, and 
come down. I have a thousand things to 
say." 

She waited to hear no more, but disengaged 
herself and went to her room. 

" Now, child ! why will you do so ? What 
makes you s;ay out so late, and then come 
thundering back like a hurricane ? I never 
did like that horse's great big saucy, shining, 
devilish eyes. I tell Andrew constantly I 
wish he would manage to break his legs while 
he is jumpjng over all the fences on the place. 
You scare me nearly to death about your rid- 
ing ; I tell you, Beauty, that black satan will 
break your neck yet. Your grandfather was 
flung from just such a looking brute, and 
dragged till he was dead ; and some day that 
everlasting long hair of yours will drag you to 
your grave. Here it is now, all streaming 
down your back; yes — just- as I expected — 
not a blessed hair-pin left in it; done galloped 
'em all clean out. You will ride yourself into 
eternity. Sit down, and let me comb it out ; 
it is all in a tangle, like ravelled yellow silk." 

Nellie looked cloudy, moody, and her mis- 
tress offered no resistance to her directions. 

" Mass' Hugh 's come." 

'• Yes ; ] know it." 

" But you don't know supper is almost 
ready, do you ? Presently you wiil hear your 
father's voice sounding like a brass trumpet 
down stairs, if you ar'n't ready. There ! 
John rings that bell as. if he had the d^ad to 
raise 1" 

• l That wiH do, Aunt Nellie, only give me a 
handkerchief." 

She went down, and met her father at the 
dining-room door. 

" Come, Queen ; we are waiting for you." 

He looked at her fondly, took her hand, and 
drew her to the table ; and, in after years, she 
recalled this occasion with mournful pleasure 
aa the last on which he had ever give.n her bis 
pet name. 

*' . . There are fatal days, indeed. 
In which the fibrous years have taken root 
So deeply, that they quiver to their tops 
Wtone'eryou stir the dust of such a day." 



CHAPTER XIX. 

" Come out on the colonnade ; the air is de- 
licious." As he spoke, Hugh drew his cousin's 



arm through his, and led the way from the 
tea-table. 

" You had company to dine to-day ?" 

" Yt-s ; if I had known that you were com- 
ing home to-day, I would have postponed the 
invitation till to-morrow. Grace expressed 
much disappointment at your absence." 

" [ndeed ! Of course 1 am duly grateful. 
What a pretty, sweet little creature she is! 
So sprightly, so vivacious, so winning; so 
charmingly ignorant of ' Almacantar ' and 
' Azimuth,' and all such learned stupidity. 
Unlike some royal personages of my acquaint- 
ance, who are for ever soaring among the 
stars, she never stretches my brains the hun- 
dredth part of an inch to comprehend her de- 
lightful prattle. Like Dickens' ' Dora,' aha 
regard^ any attempt to reason with her as a 
greater insult than downright scolding. Your 
solemn worshipper was also present, I be- 
lieve V" 

" To whom do you allude ?" 

" Your tedious, tiresome, pertinacious shad- 
ow, Herbert Blaekwell, of course ! Do you 
know that I detest that man most cordially ?" 

" For what reason ?" 

" I really do not feel in the mood to enu- 
merate all his peccadilloes and disagreeable 
traits; but it is supremely ridiculous to see the 
way in which he hovers round you, like one of 
those large black moths about the hall-lamp." 

" Cotne, come, Hugh ! Mr. Blaekwell is a 
man whom I respect and esteem, and you shall 
not make him a target for your merriment." 

" Oh, doubtless ! my Czarina ! and, as a re- 
ward for your consideration, he would fain 
confer on you his distinguished hand and fort- 
une. It is quite a respectable farce to watch 
him watching you." 

" I wish you had a tithe of his industry and 
perseverance. Did it ever occur to you that 
life is given for nobler purposes and loftier as- 
pirations than hunting, fishing, horse-racing, 
gambling, and similar modes of murdering 
time which you habitually patronize ?" 

" You are too young to play the role of 
Mentor, and those rare red lips of yours were 
never meant for homiiizing. Irene, how long 
do you intend to keep me in painful suspense '<" 

"• I am not aware that I have in any degree 
kept you in suspense." 

" At all events, you know that you torture 
me with cool, deliberate cruelty." 

" I deny your charge most solemnly." 

" My dear Lie, let us understand each other 
fully, for ." 

"Nay, Hugh — be honest; there is no mis- 
apprehension whatever. We thoroughly un- 
derstand each other already." 

" You shall not evade me ; I have been pa- 
tient, and the time has come* when we must 
talk of our future. Irene, dearest, be gener- 
ous, and tell me when will you give me, irre- 
vocably, this hand, which has been promised 
to me from your infancy V" 



MACARIA. 



87 



He took the hand and carried it to his.lips, 
but she forcibly withdrew it, and, disengaging 
ber arm, said, emphatically: 

"Never, Hugh. Never." 

"How can you trifle with me, Irene? If 
you could Realize how impatient I am for the 
happy day when I shall call you my wife, you 
would be serious, and fix an early period for 
our marriage." 

" Hugh, why will you affect to misconceive 
my meaning? I am serious; I have ppndered, 
long and well, a matter involving your life- 
long happiness and mine, and I tell you, most 
solemnly, that I will never be your wife." 

" Oh, Irene ! your promise ! your sacred 
promise !" 

" I never gave it ! On the contrary, I have 
uever failed to show you that my whole nature 
rebelled against the most unnatural relation 
forced upon me. I can not, shall not, hold 
myself bound by the promise of another made 
when I was an unconscious infant. I know 
the family compact, sealed by my father's 
word, at 3 oar mother's death-bed, making two 
little irresponsible children parties to a thor- 
oughly selfish, ignoble contract, which is re- 
volting to me. Your future and mine were 
adumbrated from my cradle, and that which 
only we could legitimately decide was usurped 
and predetermined. You have known, for 
years, that I loathed the heartless betrothal 
and ignored its restrictions ; my unalterable 
determination was very apparent when you 
returned from Europe. You were kept in no 
suspense ; you understood me then as fully as 
now ; and it is ungenerous, unmanly, to press 
a suit which you can not fail to know is ex- 
tremely disagreeable to me." 

'• My dear Irene, have you, then, no love for 
me ? I have hoped and believed that you 
hid your love behind your cold mask of proud 
silence. You must, you do love me, my beau- 
tiful rousin 1" 

" You do not believe your own words; you 
are obliged to know better. I love you as 
my cousin, love you somewhat as I love Uncle 
Eric, love you as the sole young relative left 
to me, as the only companion of my lonely 
childhood ; but other love than this I nevpr 
had, never can have, for you. Hugh, my 
cousin, look fearlessly at the unvarnished 
truth ;' neither you nor I have one spark of 
that affection which alone can sanction mar- 
riage. We are utterly unlike in thought, 
taste, feeling, habits of life, and aspirations ; 
I have no sympathy with your pursuits, you 
are invariably afflicted with ennui at the bare 
suggestion of mine. Nature stamped us with 
relentless antagonisms of character ; I bow to 
her decree rather than to man's word. Dante- 
painted no purgatory dark enough to suit the 
wretchedness that would result from such an 
unholy union as ours would be. Think of it, 
.Hugh ; a loveless marriage ; a mere moneyed 
partnership; a sort of legal contract; the only 



true union being of bank-stock, railroad-shares, 
and broad plantations." 

She leaned against one of the pillars with 
her arms folded, and a cold, merciless smile 
curling the beautiful -mouth. 

" Indeed, you wrong me ! my worshipped 
cousin. You are dearer to me than every- 
thing else on earth. I have loved you, and 
you only, from my boyhood ; you have been a 
lovelv idol from earliest recollection!" 

" You are mistaken, most entirely mistaken ; 
I am not to be deceived, neither can you 
hoodwink yourself. You like me, you love 
me, in the same quiet way that I love you ; 
you admire me, perhaps, taore than anyone 
you chance to know just now ; you are par- 
tial to my beauty, and, from long habit, have 
come to regard. me as your property, much in 
the same light as that in which you look upon 
your costly diamond buttons, or your high- 
spirited horses, or rare imported pointers. Af- 
ter a fashion you like me, Hugh ; I know you 
do'; and, my cousin, it would be most lamenta- 
ble and unnatural if you had not some affec- 
tion for me ; but love such as a man should 
have for the woman whom he makes his life- 
companion, and calls by the sacred name of 
wife, you have not one atom of. I do not 
wish to wound you, but I must talk to you as 
any reasonable woman would on a question 
of such great importance ; for I hold it no light 
thing for two souls to burden themselves with 
vows which neither can possibly, perform. 
Hugh, I 'abhor shams! and I tell, you now 
that I never will be a party to that which 
others have arranged without my consent." 

" Ah ! I see how matters stand. Having 
disposed of your heart, and lavished your love 
elsewhere, you shrink from fulfilling the sa- 
cred obligations that make you mine. I little 
dreamed that you were so susceptible, else I 
had not left you feeling so secure. My uncle 
has not proved the faithful guardian I believ- 
ed him when I entrusted my treasure, my af- 
fianced bride, to his care." 

Bitter disappointment flashed in his face and 
quivered in his voice, rendering him reckless of 
consequences. But though he gazed fiercely at 
her as he uttered the taunt, it produced not the 
faintest visible effect; the cloudless chiselled 
face still wore its quiet smile of mild irony, and 
the low clear voice preserved its sweetness. 

" You do my father rank injustice, Hugh. 
Not Ladon was more faithful or tireless than 
he has been." 

" He can not deny that the treasure has 
been stolen, nevertheless." 

" He probably can and will deny that the 
golden treasure has been snatched from his 
guardianship. Another Atlas or a second 
Hercules would be needed for such a theft." 

The application stung him ; he crimsoned, 
and retorted with a degree of bitterness of 
which he was probably unconscious at the 
moment : 



88 



MACARIA. 



" You, at least, dare not deny my charge, 
my truthful, constant fiancee !" 

" Either you overestimate my supposed 
offence or underrate my courage ; there are 
few honorable things which I dare not do." 

" Confess, then, who stands between your 
heart and mine. I have a right to ask ; I will 
know." 

" You forget yourself, my cousin. Your 
right is obviously a debatable question ; we 
will waive it, if you please. I have told you 
already j and now I repeat it for the last time, 
I will not go with you to the altar, because 
neither of us has proper affection for the other 
to warrant such a union ; because it would be 
an infamous pecuniary contract, revolting to 
every true soul. I do not want your estate, 
and you should be content with your ample 
fortune without coveting my inheritance, or 
consenting to sell your manhood to mammon. 
I would not suit you for a wife ; go find some 
more' congenial spirit, some gentle, clinging 
girl, who will live only in your love, and make 
you forget all else in her presence. I have 
no fancy for the Gehenna our married life 
would inevitably prove. Henceforth there is 
no margin for misapprehension ; understand 
that we meet in future as cousins, only as 
cousins, acknowledging no other relationship, 
no other tie save that of consanguinity ; for I 
do not hesitate to snap the links that were 
forged in my babyhood, to annul the unright- 
eous betrothal of other hands. Hugh, cherish 
no animosity against me ; I merit none. Be- 
cause we can not be more, shall we be less 
than friends ?" 

She held out her hand, but he was too an- 
gry to accept it, and asked, haughtily : 

" Shall I break this pleasant piece of infor- 
mation to my uncle ? Or , do you feel quite 
equal to the task of blighting all his long- 
cherished hopes, as well as mine ?" 

" I leave it in your hands ; consult your dis- 
cretion, or your pleasure ; to me it matters 
little. Remember my earnest request, that 
you bear me no malice in the coming years. 
Good-night, my cousin." 

She turned to leave him, but he caught her 
dress, and exclaimed, with more tenderness 
than he had ever manifested before : 

" Oh, Irene I do not reject me utterly ! I 
can not relinquish you. Give me one more 
year to prove my love ; to win yours. If your 
proud heart is still your own, may I not hope 
to obtain it, by ." 

" No, Hugh ! no. As well hope to inspire 
affection in yonder mute marble guardians. 
Forgive me if I pain you, but I must be can- 
did at every hazard." She pointed to the 
statues near the door, and went through the 
greenhouse to the library, thence to the ob- 
servatory, expecting, ere long, to be joined by 
her father. Gradually the house became 
quiet, arid, oppressed with the painful sense of 
coming trouble, she sought .her own room just 



as the clock struck twelve. Pausing to count 
the strokes, she saw a light gleaming through 
the key -hole of her father's door, opposite her 
own, and heard the sound of low but earnest 
conversation mingled with the restless tramp 
of pacing feet. She was powerfully tempted 
to cross the passage, knock, and have the or- 
deal ended then and there ; but second thought 
whispered, " To-morrow will soon be here ; 
be patient." She entered her room, and, 
wearied by the events of the day, -fell 
asleep, dreaming of the new lot in the ceme- 
tery, and the lonely, joyless man who haunted 
it. 

As she adjusted her riding-habit the follow- 
ing morning, and suffered Andrew to arrange 
her stirrup, the latter said, good-humoredly : 

" So, Mass' Hugh got the start of you V It 
is n't often he beats you." 

" What do you mean '?" 

" He started a while ago, and, if he drives 
as he generally does, he will get to his planta- 
tion in time for dinner." 

" Did Father go, too ?" 

" No ma'm ; only Mass' Hugh, in his own 
buggy." 

In the quiet, leafy laboratory of Nature 
there is an elixir of strength for those wise 
enough to seek it ; and. its subtle, volatile 
properties continually come to the relief of 
wearied, overtaxed brains, and aching, op- 
pressed hearts. The human frame, because of 
its keen susceptibility to impressions from the 
external world, and its curious adaptation 
thereunto, becomes, like the strings of an 
iEolian harp, attuned perfectly to the breath 
that sweeps it, and is by turns the exponent 
of stormy passion or holy resignation. Thus, 
from the cool serenity, the dewy sparkle, and 
delicate perfume of the early morning, Irene 
derived a renewal of strength such as no pure- 
ly human aid could have furnished. She re- 
membered now the sibyllic words of the young 
minister : "You, too, must tread the tvlne-press 
alone," and felt that the garments of her soul 
were taking the dye, the purple stain of the 
wine of trial. Doubtless he had alluded to a 
different ordeal, but she knew that all the 
future of her earthly existence was to receive 
its changeless hue from this day, and she could 
entertain but a modicum of doubt as to what 
that hue would prove. Returning from her 
ride, she" stood a moment on the front-step, 
looking down the avenue. The Bermuda ter- 
race blazed in the sunlight like a jewelled 
coronal, the billowy sea of foliage, crested by 
dewy drops, flashed and dripped as the soft air 
stirred the ancient trees, the hedges were all 
alive with birds and butterflies, the rich aroma 
of brilliant and countless flowers, the graceful 
curl of smoke wreathing up from the valley 
beyond, the measured 'musical tinkle of bells 
as the cows slowly descended the distant hills, 
and, over «all, like God's mantling mercy, a 
summer sky — 



MACARIA. 



89 



"'As blue as Aaron's priestly robe appeared 
To Aaron, when he took it off to die.' " 

Involuntarily she stretched out her arms to 
the bending heavens and her lips moved, but 
no sound escaped to tell what petition went 
forth to the All-Father. She went to her 
room', changed her dress, and joined her father 
at the breakfast-table. Half-concealed behind 
his paper, he took no notice of her quiet 
" good-morning," seeming absorbed in an edi- 
torial. The silent meal ended, he said, as they 
left the table : 

" I w»nt to see you in the library." 

She followed him without comment ; he 
locked the door, threw open the blinds, and 
drew two chairs to the window, seating him- 
self immediately in front of her. For a mo- 
ment he eyed her earnestly, as if measuring 
her strength : and she saw the peculiar sparkle 
in his falcon-eye, which, like the first lurid 
flash in a darkened sky, betokened tempests. 
" Irene, I was very much astonished to learn 
the result of an interview between Hugh and 
yourself; I can scarcely believe that you were 
in earnest, and feel disposed to attribute your 
foolish words to some trifling motive of girlish 
coquetry or momentary pique. You have 
long been perfectly well aware that you and 
your cousin were destined for each other ; that 
I solemnly premised the marriage should take 
place as soon as you were of age ; that all my 
plans and hopes for you centred in this one 
engagement. I have not pressed the matter 
on your attention of late, because I knew you 
had sense enough to appreciate your position, 
and because I believed you would be guided 
by my wishes in this important affair. You 
are no longer a child ; I treat you as a reason- 
able woman, and now I tell you candidly it is 
the one wish of my heart to see you Hugh's 
wife." 

He paused, but she made no answer, and, 
taking one of her hands, he continued : 

" My daughter, I can not believe that. you, 
on whom I have lavished so much love and 
tenderness, can deliberately refuse to accede 
to my wishes, can disappoint my dearest hopes. 
Of course, in all that I do or counsel, I am 
actuated only by a desire to promote your 
happiness. My dear child, I have a right to 
direct you, and surely your affection for your 
only parent will induce you to yield to his 
wishes." 

He tightened his clasp of her cold hand, and 
leaned toward her. 

" Father, my happiness will not be promot- 
ed by this marriage, and if you are actuated 
solely by this motive, allow me to remain just 
as I am. I should be most miserable as Hugh's 
wife ; most utterly miserable." 

" Why so ?" 

" For reasons which I gave him last night, 
and which it is hardly necessary for me to re- 
capitulate, as he doubtless repeated them to 
you." 



" Let me hear them, if you please." 

" Our characters are totally dissimilar ; our 
tastes and opinions wide as the poles asunder ; 
our natures could not possibly harmonize ; 
and, more than all, we do not love each other 
as people should who stand at the altar and 
ask God's blessing on their marriage. I sup- 
pose, sir, that Hugh tells you he loves me ; 
perhaps he likes me better than any one else 
beside himself, but the deep, holy affection 
which he ought to feel for the woman whom he 
calls his wife has no existence in his heart. 
It will prove a mere temporary disappoint- 
ment, nothing seriously touching his happi- 
ness ; for, I assure you, that is not in my 
keeping." 

" And if I answer that I know the contrary 
to be true ?" 

" Father, I should still adhere to my own 
opinion ; and, even were I disposed to accept 
your view of it, my own feelings would stand 
an everlasting barrier to our union. I do not 
love Hugh, and— I must tell you, sir, that 
I think it wrong for cousins to marry." 

" You talk like a silly child ; I thought you 
had more sense. Your objections I have lis- 
tened to ; they are imaginary and trifling ; and 
I ask you, as a father has a right to ask his 
child, to waive these ridiculous notions, and 
grant the only request I have ever made of 
you. Tell me, my daugther, that you will 
consent to accept your cousin, and thereby 
make me happy." 

He stooped and kissed her forehead, watch- 
ing her countenance eagerly. 

" Oh, Father ! do not ask this of me ! Any- 
thing else ! anything else." 

" Answer me, my darling child ; give me 
your promise." 

His hold was painful, and an angry pant 
mingled with the pleading tones. She raised 
her head and said, slowly : 

" My father, I can not." 

He threw her hand from him, and sprang 
up. 

" IngrateJ do you mean to say that you will 
not fulfil a sacred engagement ? — that you 
will break an oath given to the dead ?" 

" I do not hold myself bound by the oaths 
of another, though he were twice my father. 
I am responsible for no. acts but my own. No 
one has the right to lay his hand on an uncon- 
scious infant, slumbering in her cradle, and 
coolly determine, for all time, her destiny. 
You have the right to guide me, to say what I 
shall not do without your consent, but I am a 
free-born American, thank God! I did not 
draw my breath in Circassia, to be bartered 
for gold by my father. I, only, can give my- 
self away. Why should you wish to force this 
marriage on me ? Father, do you think that 
a woman has no voice in a matter involving 
her happiness for life ? Is one of God's holy 
sacraments to become a mere pecuniary trans- 
action ? — only a legal transfer of real estate 



90 



MACAKIA. 



and cotton bales ? Oh, my father ! would you 
make yourself and your child parties to so 
Jgnoble, so loathsome a proceed in g ?" 

" Oh ! I suspected that your cursed obsti- 
nacy would meet me here, as well as elsewhere 
in your life. You have been a source of trouble 
and sorrow from your birth ; but the time 
has come to end all this. I will not be trifled 
with ; I tried to reason with you, to influence 
you through your affections, but it seems you 
have none. If I resort to other measures now, 
you have only yourself to thank. Irene, there 
can be peace between us but upon one condi- 
tion ; I have set my heart on seeing you 
Hugh's wife ; nothing less will satisfy me. I 
warn you, as you value your own happiness, 
not to thwart me ; it is no trivial risk that you 
run. I tell you now, I will make you suffer 
severely if you dare to disobey me in this 
matter. You know that I never menace idly, 
and if you refuse to hear reason I will utterly 
disinherit you, thoucrh you are my only child. 
Ponder it well. You have been raised in 
luxury, and taught to believe yourself one of 
the wealthiest heiresses in the state ; contrast 
your present position, your elegant home, your 
fastidious tastes gratified to the utmost; con- 
trast all this, I say, with poverty — imagine 
yourself left in the world without one cent ! 
Think of it! think of it! My wealth is my 
own, mark you, ahd I will give it to whom I 
please, irrespective of all claims of custom.. 
Now the alternative is fully before you, and 
on your own head be the consequences. Will 
you accede to my wishes, as any dutiful child 
should, or will you deliberately incur my ever- 
lasting displeasure ? Will you marry Hugh ?" 
Both rose, and stood confronting each other ; 
his face burning with wrath, every feature 
quivering with passion ; hers white and rigid 
as a statue's, with only a blue cord-like cres- 
cent between the arching brows to index her 
emotion. Steadily the large violet eyes looked 
into those that regarded her so angrily ; there 
was no drooping of the long silken fringes ; 
no moisture dimming their depths ; then they 
were raised slowly, as if to the throne of God, 
registering some vow, and, pressing her hands 
over her heart, she said, solemnly : 

" Father, I will not marry Hugh, bo help 
me God !" 

Silence fell between them for several mo- 
ments ; something in that fixed, calm face of 
his child awed him, but it was temporary, and, 
with a bitter laugh, he exclaimed: 

" Oh, very well ! Your poverty be upon 
your own head in coming years, when the 
grave closes over me. At my death every 
cent of my property passes to Hugh, and with, 
it my name, and between you and me, as an 
impassable gulf, lies my everlasting displeasure. 
Understand that, though we" live here in one 
house, as father and child, I do not, and will 
not, forgive you. You have defied me; now 
eat the bitter fruit of your disobedience." 



* " I have no desire to question the disposition 
of your wealth ; if you prefer to give it to my 
cousin, I am willing — perfectly willing. I 
would rather beg my bread from door to door, 
proud though I am; I would sootier soil my 
Huntingdon hands by washing or cooking, 
than soil my soul with perjury, or sell myself 
for gold. It is true, I love elegance and luxu- 
ry ; I enjoy wealth as well as most people do, 
I suppose ; but poverty does not frighten me 
half so much as a loveless marriage. Give 
Hugh your fortune if you wish, but, Father! 
Father ! let there be no estrangement between 
you and me. I can bear everything but yonr 
displeasure ; I dread nothing so much as the 
loss of your love. Oh, Father ! forgive a dis- 
appointment which my conscience would not 
permit me to avert. Forgive the pain which, 
God knows, I would not h we caused you, if I 
could have avoided it without compromising 
principle. Oh, my Father ! my Father ! let 
not dollars and cents stand between yovi and 
your only child. I ask nothing now but your 
love." 

She drew nearer, but he waved her off and 
said, with a sneering laugh : 

"Away with all such cant ! I gave you the 
choice, and you made your selection with your 
eyes fully open. Accept poverty as your 
doom, and with it my eternal displeasure. I 
intend to make you suffer for your obstinacy. 
You shall find, to your sorrow, that I am not to 
be trifled with, or my name is not Leonard 
Huntingdon. Now go your own way, and 
find what a thorny path you have made for. 
yourself." 

He pointed to the door as he had done, years 
before, when the boarding-school decree went 
forth, and without remonstrance she left him 
and sat down on the steps of the greenhouse. 
Soon after, the sound of his buggy-wheels told 
her that he had gone to town, and, leaning 
her cheek on her , hand, she recalled the' pain- 
ful conversation from first to last. That he 
meant all he had threatened, and more, she 
did not question for an instant, and, thinking 
of her future, she felt sick at heart. But 
with the shame and sorrow came, also, a thrill 
of joy ; she had burst the fetters ; she was free. 
Wounded affection bled freely, but brain and 
conscience exulted in the result. She could 
not reproach herself ; she resolved not to re- 
proach her father, even in thought. Hers 
was not a disposition to vent its griefs and 
troubles in tears ; these had . come to her re- 
lief but three or four times in the course of a 
life, and on this occasion she felt as little in- 
clination to cry as to repine idly over what 
could not .be rectified. Her painful reverie 
was interrupted by the click of approaching 
crutches, and she rose to meet her uncle. 

" Do not get up, Irene ; I will sit here be- 
side you. My child, look at me — are you 
sick ?" 

" No, Uncle Eric ; what put that absurd no- 



MACARIA. 



91 



lion into your head ? I rode past your door 
two hours ago, and was powerfully tempted to 
stop and breakfast with your bachelorship." 

He regarded her anxiously, noting the sin- 
gular crescent on her pale forehead, and con- 
necting it with the scowling face of his broth- 
er-in-law, which had passed him on the ave- 
nue. He knew that something very unusual 
had excited the calm, inflexible woman till the 
hot blood swelled that vein, but he forebore 
all question. 
u What are you thinking ofi Uncle Eric ?" 
'• Only of a line in a poem which I was 
reading last night. Shall I quote it for you ? 

" < A still Medusa, with mild milky brows 
All curdled .' " 

She looked in his face, smiled, and passed 
her hand over her forehead, hiding the blue 
cord. 

" Ah ! a gentle way of reading me a lecture 
on ill-temper. I lay no claim to saintship, you 
know, and when I am out of humor my face 
won't play the hypocrite. I am no Griselda ; 
obviously none of my name can ever expect 
canonization on that score. Come to the con- 
servatory ; the lemons are in full bloom, and 
marvellously sweet. Pat your hand on my 
shoulder, and come down slowly." 

" Where is Hugh ? I thought he came home 
yesterday ?" 

" He started to his plantation at daylight. 
Take care, sir ; these flags are slippery with 
dew ; your crutches are unsafe." 



CHAPTER XX. 

" To-whit — to-whoo !" Munin stretched his 
broad gray wings, and, quitting the mantle- 
piece, perched upon the top of the easel, gaz- 
ing down at the solitary artist, and uttering all 
the while a subdued melancholy note of com- 
plaint, as if to attract her attention. She looked 
up and held out her hand coaxingly. 

"Munin! Munin! what do you want ? You 
haunt me like my shadow. Poor pet, true to 
your name, you pine for your master." 

The ruffled plumes smoothed themselves, 
the plaint was hushed. He fluttered to her 
shoulder, received her soft, caressing touches 
with evident satisfaction, nestled his beak in 
her shining hair, and then, as if soothed and 
contented, flitted to the open window. Re- 
suming her brush, Electra leaned forward and 
continued her work, " Laborare est orare :" 
if so, no more ardent devotee ever bowed at 
the shrine of toil, bearing sacrificial offerings. 
Thoughts, hopes, aspirations, memories, all 
centred in the. chosen profession ; to its pros- 
ecution she brought the strength and energy 
of an indomitable will, the rich and varied re- 
sources of a well-stored, brilliant intellect. It 
was evident that she labored con amove, and 
cow the expectation of approaching triumph 



lent additional eagerness to her manner. The 
fingers trembled, the eyes sparkled unwonted* 
ly, a deeper, richer crimen flowed on the 
smooth cheeks, and the. lips parted and closed 
unconsciously. The tantalizing dreams of- 
childhood, beautiful but evanescent, had 
gradually embodied themselves in a palpable, 
tangible, glorious reality ; and the radiant 
woman exulted in the knowledge that she had 
but to put forth her hand and grasp it. The 
patient work of twelve months drew to a close ; 
the study of years bore its first fruit; the last 
delicate yet quivering touch was giveu; she 
threw down palette and brush, and, stepping 
back, surveved the canvas. The Exhibition 
would open within two days, and tins was to 
be her contribution. A sad-eyed Cassandra, 
with pallid, prescient, woe-struck features — an 
•overmastering face, wherein the flickering 
light of divination struggled feebly with the 
human horror of the To-Come, whose hideous 
mysteries were known only to the royal 
prophetess. In mute and stern despair it 
looked out from the canvas, a curious, anoma- 
lous thing — cut adrift from human help, bereft , 
of aid from heaven — yet, in its doomed isola- ' 
tion, scorning to ask the sympathy which its 
extraordinary loveliness extorted from all who 
saw it. The artist's pride in this, her first fin- 
fehed creation, might well bo pardoned, for 
she was fully conscious that the cloud-region 
of a painful novitiate lay far beneath her; 
that henceforth she should never miss the 
pressure of long-coveted chaplets from her 
brow ; that she should bask in the warm, fruc- 
tifying rays of public favor ; and measureless 
exultation flashed in her beautiful eyes. The 
torch of Genius burned brightly, as, buoyant 
and eager, she took her place in the great 
lampadrome of life; but would it endure till 
the end ? WoulJl it light up the goal standing 
upon the terminus of Time ? 

The door opened, and Russell came into the 
studio. She was not expecting him ; his sud- 
den appearance gave her no time to adjust 
the chilling mask of pride, and all her uncon- 
trolled affection found eloquent language in, 
the joyful face. 

" Russell ! my own dear Russell F 

He drew his arm around her and kissed her 
flushed cheek, and each looked at the other, 
wondering at the changes which years had 
wrought. 

" Electra, you have certainly improved 
more than any one I ever knew. You look 
the impersonation of perfect health ; it is 
needless to ask how you are." And again his 
lips touched the beaming face passed against 
his shoulder. Her arms stole tremblingly 
around his neck, past indifference was forgot- 
ten in the joy of his presence, and she mur- 
mured : 

" I thought I should not see you before I 
left America. I can not tell you what a 
pleasure this surprise is to me. Oh, Russell ! 



92 



MACARIA. 



I longed inexpressibly to be with you once 
more. Thank you, a thousand times, for com- 
ing to me at last." 

" Did you suppose that I intended to let 
you put the Atlantic between us without mak- 
ing an effort to see you again ? Were you 
unjust enough to believe that I had forgotten 
the only relative whom I love ? My dear lit- 
tle sceptic, I have come to prove my affection, 
and put yours to the test." 

He pressed her closer to his heart, but sud- 
denly she shrank from him, unclasped his arm, 
and, wheeling two chairs to the window, said, 
hurriedly : 

" Sit dowD, and let me look at you. You 
have grown so tall and commanding that I am 
half-afraid of my own cousin. You are less 
like Aunt Amy than formerly." 

" Allow me to look at your painting first, 
for it will soon be too dark to examine it. 
This is the Cassandra of which you wrote me." 

He stood before it for some moments in 
silence, and she watched him with breathless 
eagerness — for his opinion was of more value 
to her than that of all the •dilettanti and con- 
noisseurs who would soon inspect it. Gradu- 
ally his dark, cold face kindled, and she had 
her reward. 

" It is a masterly creation ; a thing of won- 
derful and imperishable beauty ; it is a great, 
success— as such the world will receive it — and 
hundreds will proclaim your triumph. I am 
proud of it, and doubly proud of you." 

He held out his hand, and, as she put her 
fingers in'his, her head drooped and hot tears 
blinded her. Praise from the lips she loved 
best stirred her womanly heart as the applause 
of the public could never do ; and, in after 
years, when grief and loneliness oppressed 
her, these precious words rang sweet and sil- 
very through the darkened chambers of her 
soul, working miracles of comfort infinitely 
beyond the potent spell of Indian O-TJ-M or 
mystic Agla. Without perceiving her emotion 
he continued, with his eyes fixed on the pict- 
ure : 

" Some day you must make me a copy, and 
I will hang it over the desk in my office, 
where I can feast my eyes on its rare loveli- 
ness and my ears with your praises from all 
who see it. How long have you been at work 
upon it '?" 

" I can't recall the time when it first took 
hold of my imagination ; it paced by my side 
when I was a child, brooded over me in my 
troubled dreams, looked out from the pomp of 
summer clouds and the dripping drab skies of 
winter, floated on snow-flakes, and flashed in 
thunder-storms ; but I outlined it about a year 
ago. For my Exhibition picture, I wavered 
long between this and an unfinished Antig- 
one ; but finally decided in favor of Cassan- 
dra." 

" And selected wisely. While in Europe I 
saw, in a private house, an exquisite head of 



the ''Erythrcean Sybil,' which somewhat re- 
sembles your painting. The position is almost 
identical — the nose, mouth, and chin very 
similar ; but the glory of this Cassandra is the 
supernatural eyes, brimful of prescience. It 
might afford matter for curious speculation, 
however, and some time we will trace the subtle 
law of association of ideas by which two ar- 
tists, separated by the Atlantic and by cen- 
turies, chanced, under totally different cir- 
cumstances, to portray similarly the two dis- 
tinct prophetesses who both foretold the doom 
of Troy." 

" If such is the case, the world will be very 
sceptical of the coincidence. I did not even 
know that there was an ' Erythrcean Sybil,' 
much less a picture of her ; so much for igno- 
rance 1 The critics who knew that I did not 
paint your portrait, simply because it was well 
done, will swear that I stole the whole of m r 
Cassandra," answered Electra, perplexed and 
troubled. 

" You need not look so rueful, and plough 
your forehead with that heavy frown. In all 
probability I am the only person in New York 
who has seen the other picture ; and, granting 
the contrary, the resemblance might not be 
detected. If you suffer it to annoy you, I shall 
be sorry that I mentioned it. Yet, I doubt not, 
the withering charge of plagiarism has often 
been hurled in the face of an honest worker 
quite as unjustly as it would be in your case. 
Very startling coincidences sometimes occur 
most innocently ; but carping envy is a thrifty 
plant, and flourishes on an astonishingly small 
amount of soil." 

" Who painted that 'Sibyl ?" 

" It is not known positively. Travelling 
through the northern part of France, I was 
detained some hours at a village, and employed 
the delay in rambling about the suburbs. 
Following a winding road it brought me to 
the enclosure of a chateau, and I leaned on 
the fence and admired the parterre, which was 
uncommonly pretty. The owner happened 
to be among his flower-beds, saw me, and, with 
genuine French politeness and urbanity, in- 
sisted that I should enter and rest myself 
while he gathered me a bouquet of mignonette 
and pinks. The afternoon was warm, and I 
asked for a glass of water. He took me into 
the house, and on the parlor wall hung this 
picture. It riveted my attention, and flattered, 
doubtless, by my evident admiration, he gave 
me its history. His father had found it at a 
picture-shop in Germany, I forget now exactly 
where, and bought it for a Dolce, but doubt- 
ed its genuineness ; and my host, who seemed 
thoroughly au fait in Art matters, asserted 
that it belonged to a much earlier school. 
That is all that I or the owner know of it ; so 
dismiss the subject from your mind." 

" I shall not, I promise you. Give me 
minute directions, and I will hunt up chateau, 
mignonette, gentlemanly proprietor, Sibyl, 



MACARIA. 



93 



and all. Who knows but metempsychosis may 
be true after all, and that the painter's soul 
possesses me bodily, striving to portray the 
archetype which haunted him in the last stage 
of existence' ? According to Vaughah, the 
Portuguese have a superstition that the soul of 
a man who has died leaving some duty unful- 
filled, or promised work unfinished, is fre- 
quently known to enter into another person, 
and, dislodging for a time the rightful soul-oc- 
cupant, impel him unconsciously to complete 
what was lacking." 

" You are growing positively paganish, 
Electra, . from constant association with the 
dead deities of classic ages, and I must reclaim 
you. Come, sit down, and tell me something 
of your life since the death of your friend, 
Mr. Clifton." 

" Did you receive my last letter, giving an 
account of Mrs. Clifton's death V" 

"Yes; just as I stepped upon the platform 
of the cars it was handed to me. I had heard 
nothing from you for so long, that I thought it 
was time to look after you." 

" You had started, then, before you knew 
that I was going to Europe ?" 

" Yes." . 

He could not understand the instantaneous 
change which came over her countenance — 
the illumination, followed as suddenly by a 
smile, half-compassionate, half-bitter. She 
pressed one hand to her heart, and said : 

" Mrs Clifton never seemed to realize her 
son's death, though, after paralysis took place, 
and she became speechless, I thought she re- 
covered her memory in some degree. She 
survived him just four months, and, doubtless, 
was saved much grief by her unconsciousness 
of what had occurred. Poor old lady ! she 
suffered little for a year past, and died,! hope, 
without pain. I have the consolation of know- 
ing that I did all that could be done to pro- 
mote her comfort. Russell, I would not live. 
here for any consideration ; nothing but a 
sense of duty has detained me this long. I 
promised him that I would not forsake his 
mother. But you can have no adequate con- 
ception of the feeling of desolation which 
comes over me when I sit here during the long 
evenings. He seems watching me from picture- 
frames and pedestals ; his face— his pleading, 
patient, wan face — haunts me perpetually. 
Arid yet I tried to make him happy ; God 
knows I oid my duty." 

She, sprang up and paced the room for some 
moments, with her hands behind her, -and 
tears glitterinir on her cheeks. Pausing at 
last on the rug, she pointed to a large square 
object closely shrouded, and added : 

" Yonder stands his last picture, unfinished. 
The day he died he put a few feeble strokes 
upon it, and bequeathed the completion of the 
task to me. For several years he worked oc- 
casionally on it, but much remains to be done. 
It is the ' Death of Socrates.' I have not even 



looked at it since that night ; I do not intend 
to touch it until after I visit Italy ; I doubt 
whether my hand will ever be steady enough 
to give the last strokes. Oh, Russell ! the 
olden time, the cottage-days seem far, far off 
to me now !" 

Leaning against the mantle-piece she drop- 
ped her head on her hand, but when he ap- 
proached and stood at the opposite corner he 
saw that the tears had dried. 

" Neither of us has had a sunny life. Electra ; 
both have had numerous obstacles to contend 
with ; both have very bitter memories. Orig- 
inally there was a certain parallelism in our 
characters, but with our growth grew the di- 
vergence. You have preserved the nobler 
part of your nature better than I ; for my 
years I am far older than you ; none of the 
brightness of my boyhood seems to linger 
about me. Contact with the world is an in- 
durating process; I really did not know how 
hard I had grown, until I felt my he;trt soften 
at sight of you. I need you to keep the 
kindly charities and gentle amenities of life 
before me, and, therefore, I have come for 
you. But for my poverty. ! never would 
have given you up so lou^r ; I felt that it 
would be for your advantage, in more than 
one respect, to remain with Mr Clifton un- 
til I had acquired my prof'-s-ion. I knew 
that you would enjoy privitt-g^s here which 
I could not give you in my straitened cir- 
cumstances. Things have changed ; Mr. 
Campbell has admitted me to partnership'; 
my success I consider an established fact. 
Give up, for a season, this jeoj cted tour of 
Europe; wait till I can go wiih you, till I 

can take you; go back to A 7 with 

me. You can continue y^our ici-smdi-'s, if you 
wish it; you can prosecute 'I; 'in t lere as well 
as here. You are ambitious. Kh-eira; so am I ; 
let us work together." 

She raised her head and looked up at the 
powerful, nobly-proportioned form, the jjrand, 
kingly face, calm and colocl-ss. -t.'ie large, 
searching black eyes, -within whose !i tffling 
depths lay all the mysteries of i:i -seierism, 
and a spasm of pain seized her o«-n '■'< Uures. 
She shaded her brow, and answered : 

"No, Russell, I could no. eiiiert.du that 
thought an instant." 

" Are you too proud to accp a home from 
me ?" 

" Not too proud, exactly ; >ut, as lon;j as I 
have, health, I mean to nuk • a support. I 
will no f burden you." 

" What bunglers you women are at logic! 
The thought of living on my •■lir-ity affrights 
you, and yet you fly from me .o liic .old chari- 
ty of the world — for what ise is fleeting, 
fickle public favor — fitful public patronage or 
praise ?" 

" Full value received for beie fit rendered is 
not charity ; beside, Russell, \ on, 100, seek and 
subsist upon this same fickle puhlie favor." 



94 



MACAEIA. 



" Partially, T grant you ; but I ground my 
claims far deeper than you ; I strike down, 
taking root in the substratum of selfishness. 
Interest, individual interest, is the outpost of 
which I am paid to be the sentinel ; stern ne- 
cessity is my guardian a,ngel, compelling all 
men to see that my wages are inviolate. I 
stand in the great brain market-place, and 
deal with mankind in the normal, every-day 
manifestations of avarice, selfishness, or hate ; 
profit and loss the theme — dollars or blood 
the currency. M. Q aetelet, one of the most 
eminent statisticians of Europe, has proved 
that, in a given population, a given number of 
crimes will annually be, committed ; so you see 
that, in this market,' a bo, production keeps 
pace with consumption, and legal counsel is 
necessitated. On the contrary, you address 
yourself to a class of emotions fluctuating and 
short-lived — common to comparatively few — 
involving no <|uestions of utility — luxuries, not 
necessities. Yours is a profession of contingen- 
cies ; not so mine; ibr injustice, duplicity, 
theft, are every-day, settled certainties. A 
man will give, me one-half of his estate to save 
"the other, which the chicane of his neighbor 
threatens." 

" And if that villanous, avaricious neighbor 
had employed you half an hour before the in- 
jured man sought to engage your services V" 

" Why, then,* the lawyer next in his estima- 
tion gets the case, and it is resolved into a 
simple question of his superior adroitness, 
acumen, and industry, or mine. The world is 
hard upon lawyers, its faithful servants, and 
holds them up as moral monsters to the very 
children whose moat lis their labor fdls with 
bread. An erroneous and most unjust im- 
pression prevails that a lawyer of ability, plua 
extensive practice, equals Bacon, Jeffries, 
Impey, or some other abnormal disgrace to 
jurisprudence ; whereas, the sole object of the 
institution of law is to secure right, justice, 
and truth. You are opening your lips to ask 
if the last is not often wilfully suppressed V 
Remember that even the Twelve found a 
Judas among their number, and the provision 
of counsel is to elicit truth, and all the truth, 
on both sides. 1 bring testimony in defence of 
all that is susceptible of proof in my client's 
favor, and it is the business of the opposite 
counsel to do likewise ; if he neglects his duty, 
or, through lack of intellect, suffers me to gain 
the case, even against real justice, am I culpa- 
ble ? I did my duty ; he failed to defend his 
cause, however righteous, and on his shoulders 
rest the tuipitude." 

" Ah, Russeil ! you have taken a diploma in 
the school of sophistry." 

"1 am content that you should think so, 
since a recent great lii-torian has decided that 
the Sophists were a sadly maligned sect, and, 
instead of becoming a synonyme of reproach, 
merited the evei listing gratitude of mankind, 
as the tireless public teachers of Greece—the 



walking-school system of Athens in her impe- 
rial, palmy days." 

" I never will believe that ! I wish to heaven 
archteologistS would let the dust of Athens 
rest, instead of ploughing it up periodically 
with the sacrilegious shires of newfangled 
theories." 

" And thereby exhuming the mouldering 
bones of some of your favorite divinities, I sup- 
pose ? The literary philbellenism of the pres- 
ent age, and especially itsphilologie tendency, 
is fast hunting the classic spectres of the heroic 
times into primeval shade. Old-fogyism in 
literature is considered.. 1 believe, quite as uflfc 
pardonable as in politics. Take care how 
you handle the Sophists, for T hold that they 
differed in but' one respect from your hero, 
Socrates." * 

" You shall not insult his memory by any 
such disgraceful association,' interrupted his 
cousin. 

"And that dillerence," he continued, with- 
out heeding her, " consists in the fact that, 
they taught for money, while he scorned to 
accept remuneration. Sydney Smith niai at- 
tains that ' Socrates invented common-sense 
two thousand years ago, a« Ceres invented the 
plough, and Bacchus intoxication.' I should 
receive the diclvm more readily if he had 
Docketed the honest wages of his talents, in- 
stead of deluding himself with the belief that 
he was the heaven-appointed regenerator of 
Athens, and making his labors purely eleemo- 
synary, to the possible detriment of his family. 
Who knows but that, after all, Xantippe de- 
served a place in uiartyrology, 'having been 
driven to paroxysms of rage and desperation 
by an empty purse or wretched household 
derangements, victimized by her husband's 
cosmopolitan mission ; for it is a notorious fact 
that men who essay to manage the opinions of 
the world invariably neglect their domestic 
affairs, and allow them to run to ruin." 

"Five years ago \oit would not have said 
that, Russell, and I think it questionable 
whether you believe it all now. I hold my 
profession a nobler one than yours, and dis- 
pute your predicate that it involves no utility. 
Whatever tends to exalt, to purify, to enno- 
ble, is surely useful ; and aesthetics, properly 
directed, is one of the most powerful engines 
of civilization. See what it wrought for 
Athens." 

" You mistake effect for cause. The free- 
dom of Athens was the lever which raised it 
to such a pitch of glory ; as a sequence, the 
arts flourished and beauty was apotheosized. 
When freedom perished the arts received 
their death-blow, and, impotent to preserve 
the prosperity of the city, shed a lingering 
halo around its melancholy hut majestic ruins. 
That aesthetics ami utility are synonymies is 
an axiom which might find acceptation ,in 
' Bensalem ;' but in this intensely practical, 
mechanical epoch of human history, and thi* 



MACAEIA. 



95 



money-making quarter of the globe, you must 
educate the masses up to an entirely different 
level bt'fore von can expect them to receive 
it." 

" And, so far as my feeble influence extends, 
or my limited ability will permit, I purpose to 
become such a teacher. Do not laugh at me, 
Russeli, I beg of you." 

" I smile at the beautiful dream, rather than 
the enthusiastic dreamer. So, doubtless, 
dreamed Phidias, Praxiteles, and the Rhodian 
Trio, and only a few time-corroded blocks of 
marble tvmmn in attestation. Qui bono?" 
' " Yours and mine ! — f jr dead nations, and 
for generations yet unborn, who shall gaze 
upon their noble and imperishable monuments. 
You are worse than Goth or Vandal, if you 
can ignore their softening, spiritualizing influ- 
ence — for even they, rude and untutored, 
bowed before their immortal beauty. What 
has come over you, Russell, hardening your 
nature, and sealing the sources of genial, gen- 
uine appreciation ?" 

"The icy breath of experience, the erystal- 
izing touch of years. You must not be so se- 
vere upon me, Eleetra ; many a time, since 
we parted, I have left my desk to watch a gor- 
geous sunset, and for a lew minutes fancy my- 
self once more leaning on the garden-gate of 
my early home. I love beauty, but I subordi- 
nate it to the practical utilities of life. I have 
little time' for aesthetic musings ; I live among 
disenchanting commonplace realities. It is 
woman's province and prerogative to gather up 
the links of beauty, and bind them as a gar- 
land round her home ; to fill it with the fra- 
grance of dewy flowers, the golden light of 
western skies, the low soothing strains of mu- 
bic, which can chant all care to rest; which 
will drown the clink of dollars and cents, and 
lead a man> thoughts to purer, loftier themes. 
Ah! there is no apocalypse of joy and peace 
like a happy home, where a woman of ele- 
gance and refinement goes to and fro. This 
recalls the object of my \isit. You say, truly, 
that full value received for benefit rendered 
is not charity ; apply your principle, come to 

W , share my future, and what fortune 

I may find assigned me. I have bought the 
cottage, and intend to build a handsome house 
there some day, where you and Mr. Campbell 
and I can live peacefully. You shall twine 
your aesthetic fancies all about it, to make it 
picturesque enough to suit your fastidious ar- 
tistic taste. Come, and save me from what 
you consider my worse than vandalian pro- 
clivities. I came here simply and solely in the 
hope of prevailing on you to return with me. 
I make this request, not because I think it 
will be expected of me, but for more selfish 
reasons — because it is a matter resting very 
near my heart." 

" Oh, Kussell ! you tempt me." 

« I wish to do so. My blood beats in your 
veins ; you are the only relative I value, and 



were you indeed my sister I should scarcely 
love you more. With all a brother's interest, 
why should I not claim a brother's right to 
keep you with me — at least until you find your 
Pylades, and give him a higher claim before 
God and man '/ Electra, were I your brother 
you would require no persuasion; why hesi- 
tate now '{" 

She clasped her hands behind her, as if for 
support in some fiery ordeal, and, gathering 
up her strength, spoke rapidb , like one who 
fears that resolution will fail before some nec- 
essary sentence is pronounced. 

" You are very kind and i^'iierous, Russell, 
and for all that you have offered inc I thank 
you from the depths of a full heart. The con- 
sciousness of your continued interest and af- 
fection is inexpressibly precious ; but my dis- 
position is too much like your own to suffer 
me to sit down in idleness, while there is so 
much to be done in the world. I, too, want 
to earn a noble reputation, which will sur- 
vive long after I have been gathered to my 
fathers; I want to accomplish some work, look- 
ing upon which, my fellow-creatures will pro- 
claim: ' That woman has not lived in vain; 
the world is better and happier because she 
came and labored in it' I want my name 
carved, not on monumental marble only, but 
upon the living, throbbing heart of my age ! 
stamped indelibly on the generation in which 
my lot is cast. Perhaps 1 am too .singuine of 
success; a grievous disappointment may await 
all my ambitious hopes, but ft dure will come 
from want of genius, not lack of persevering, 
patient toil. Upon the threshold of my ca- 
reer, facing the loneliness of coming years, I 
resign that hope with which, like a golden 
thread, most women embroider their future. 
I dedicate myself, my life, unreservedly to 
Art." 

' ; You believe that )0u will be happier 
among the marble and canvas of Italy than iu 
W r with me V 

" Yes; I shall be better satisfied there. All 
my life it has gleamed afar off', a glorious lancj 
of promise to my eager, longing spirit. From 
childhood I have cherished the hope of reach- 
ing it, and the fruition is near at hand. .Italy ! 
bright alma ma{pr of the art to which I con- 
secrate my years. Do you wonder that, like 
a lonely child, I stretch out my arms toward 
it? Yet my stay there will be but for a sea- 
son. I go to complete my studies; to make 
myself a more perlect instrument for my noble 
work, and then I shall come home — come, not 
to New York, but to my own dear native 

South, to W -, that I may labor under the. 

shadow of its lofty pines and witliin hearing 
of its murmuring river — dearer to me than 
elastic Arno or immortal Tiber. I wrote you 
that Mr. Clifton had left me a Iega<-y, which, 
judiciously invested, will defray my expenses 
in Europe, where living is cheaper than in 
this country. Mr. Young has taken charge of 



96 



MACAEIA. 



the money for me, and has kindly offered to 
attend to my remittances. Aunt Ruth's friends, 
the Riehardsons, consented to wait for me 
until after the opening of the Exhibition of 
the Academy of Design, and one week from 
to-morrow we expect to sail." 

" What do you know of the family ?" 
" Nothing, except that the lady, who is an 
old friend of my aunt, is threatened with con- 
sumption, and has been advised to spend a 
year or two in Florence. Aunt Ruth took me 
to see her the other day ; she seems intelligent 
and agreeably, and, I dare say, I shall find her 
kind and pleasant enough." 

" Since such is the programme you have 
marked out, I trust that no disappointments 
await you, and that all your, bright dreams 
may be realized. But, if it should prove 
otherwise, and you grow weary of your art, 
sick of isolation, and satiated- with Italy, re- 
member that I shall welcome you home, and 
gladly share with you all that I possess. You 
are embarking in an experiment which thou- 
sands have tried before: you, and wrecked hap- 
piness upon; but I have no right to control 
your future, and certainly no desire to discour- 
age you. At all events, I hope our separation 
will be brief." 

A short silence followed, broken at last by 
Elertra, who watched him keenly as she spoke. 

" Tell me something about Irene. Of course, 

in a small town like W ■, you must see 

her frequently." 

" By no means. I think I have seen her 
but three times since her childhood — once 
riding with her father, then accidentally at 
church, and again, a few evenings before I 
left, at the 'graveyard, where she was dressing 
a tombstone with flowers. There we ex- 
changed a few words for the first time, and 
this reminds me that I am bearer of a message, 
yet undelivered. She inquired after you, and 
desired me to tender you her love and best 
wishes." 

He neither started nor changed color at 
the mention of Irene's name, but straightened 
himself, and buttoned to the throat the black 
coat, which, from the warmth of the room, he 
had partially loosened. « 

" Is she not a great belle '?'•' 

" I presume few women have been more ad- 
mired than she is. I hear much of her beauty 
and the sensation which it creates wherever 
she goes ; but the number of her suitors is 
probably limited, from the fact that it is gener- 
ally known she is engaged to her cousin, young 
Seymour." 

" I can not believe that she loves him." 

" Oh ! that is not necessary to latter-day 
matrimonial contracts; it is an, obsolete clause, 
not essential to legality, and utterly ignored. 
She is bound, hand and foot, and her father 
will immolate her on the altar of Money." 

He smiled' bitterly, and crossed his arms 
over his chest. 



"You mistake her character, Russell. I 
know her better, and I tell you there is none 
of the Iphigenia in her nature." 

" At least I do not mistake her father's, and * 
I pity the woman whose fate rests in his iron 
grasp." 

" She holds hers in her own hands, small 
and white though they are ; and, so surely as 
the stars shine above us, she will marry only 
where she loves. She has all the will which 
has rendered the name of her family prover- 
bial. I have her here in crayons ; tell me what 
you think of the likeness." 

She took down a portfolio and selected thl 
head of her quondam p'laymate, holding it 
under the gaslight, and still scrutinizing her 
cousin's countenance. He took it, and looked 
gravel}', earnestly, at the lovely features. 

" It scarcely does her justice ; I doubt wheth- 
er any portrait ever will. Beside, the expres- 
sion of her face has changed materially since 
this was sketched. There is a harder outline 
now about her mouth, less of dreaminess in 
the eyes, more of cold hauteur in the whole 
face. If you desire it,. I can, in one line of 
Tennyson, photograph her proud beauty, as I 
saw her mounted on her favorite horse 'the 
week that I left home : 

" ' Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null !' " 

He laid the drawing back in the open port- 
folio, crossed the room, arid took up his hat. 

" Where are you going, Russell 'i Can't you 
spend the evening with me at Aunt Ruth's '?" 

" No, thank you ; I must go. There is to be 
a great political meeting at Tammany Hall to- 
night, and I am particularly anxious to attend." 

" What ! are you, too, engaged in watching 
the fermentation of the political vat ?" 

" Yes ; I am most deeply interested ; no true 
lover of his country can fail to be so at this 
juncture." 

"How long will you be in New York ?" 

" Since I can not persuade you to return 
with me, my stay here will be shortened. One 
of our courts meets soon, and, though Mr. 
Campbell will be there to attend to the cases, 
I want, if possible, to .be present. I shall re- 
turn day after to-morrow. And how good- 
night ; I will see you early in the morning." 

The door closed behind him, and she remain- 
ed standing for some time just as he left her. 
Slowly the folded hands shrank from each 
other, aud dropped nerveless to her side ; the 
bright glow in her cheeks, the dash of crimson 
on her lips, faded from both ; the whole face 
relaxed into an expression of hopeless agony. 
Lonely as Moses when he calmly climbed Nebo 
to die, she bowed herself a despairing victim 
upon the grim, flint-fronted altar of Necessity. 

Curiously subtle and indomitable is woman's 
heart — so often the jest of the flippant and 
unthinking, the sneer of the unscrupulously 
calculating, or mercilessly cynical. It had long 
been no secret to this woman that she occu- 



MACARIA. 



97 



pied tlie tlird place in her cousin's affections — 
was but a dweller of the vestibule. Her pride 
had been tortured, her vanity sorely wounded ; 
yet, to-night, purified from all dross, love rose 
invincible, triumphant, from the crucible of 
long and severe trial — sublime in its isolation, 
asking, expecting no return — 

" Bell'-girded "with torn strips of hope." 

Such is the love of a true woman. God 
help all such, in this degenerate world of ours, 
so cursed with shams and counterfeits. 

Raising her tearless, shadowy eyes to the 
woeful face of her Cassandra, Electra extend- 
ed ber arms and murmured : 

"Alone henceforth ! a pilgrim in foreign 
lands! a solitary worker among strangers. So 
be it ! I am strong enough to work alone. So 
be it !" 

The flaming sword of the Angel of Destiny 
waved her from the Eden of her girlish day- 
dreams, and by its fiery gleam she read the 
dim, dun future ; saw all — 

*• The long mechanic pacings to and fro, 
The set gray life, and apathetic end." 



CHAPTER XXI. 

"Don't you know that even granite mill- 
stones finally grind themselves into impalpable 
powder ? You give yourself no rest, Aubrey, 
and human machinery wears rapidly." 
" But if the. powder ground bo golden ?" 
" The dust is but dust still, despite its glitter, 
and fills men s eyes and dims their vision like 
any other dust; ending often in a moral oph- 
thalmia past cure. 

" 'The plague of gold strikes fur and near, 
And deep and strong it enters. 
This purple chimar which we wear. 
Makes madder than the centaur s ; 
Our thoughts grow blank, our words grow strange, 

"tt'e cheer the pale gold-diggers ; 
Each suiil is worth so much on 'Change, 
And marked, like sheep, with figures. 

ito pitiful, o (iod !' " 

"I should really dislike to think that you 
had become a confirmed, inveterate chrysolo- 
gist. Take time, Aubrey ! take time ; you 
are overworked, and make mom lis press upon 
your brow more heavily than years on most 
men's. After all, my dear fellow, as Emerson 
says, ' Politics is a deleterious profession, like 
some poisonous handicrafts.' 1 sometimes feel 
like drawing a long breath for you ; it wearies 
me to look at you — you are such a concentrated 
extract of work ! work ! Simply for this 
reason, I sent lor you to come and take a cup 
of tea with me." 

" I have been too much engaged of late to 
spare an evening to merely soeial claims. A 
man whose lite rests at his leet, to be lifted to 
some fitting pedestal, has little leisure lor the 
luxury of friendly visiting." 

The two wer« in Erie Mitchell's pleasanj; 
7 l 



library. Russell sat in an arm-chair, and the 
master of the house reclined on a lounge 
drawn near the hearth. The mellow glow of 
the lamp, the flash and crackle of the fire, the 
careless, lazy posture of the invalid, all be- 
tokened quiet comfort, save the dark fixed 
face and erect, restless figure of the guest. 

"But, Aubrey, a man who has already 
achieved so much should be content to rest a 
while, and move more slowly." 

" That depends altogether on the nature and 
distance of his^joal.'' 

"And that glial is — what?" 

" Men call it by a variety of names, hoping 
to escape Lucifer's fate by adroitly cloaking 
Lucifer's infirmity." 

" Yes ; and whenever I look at you toiling 
so ceaselessly, climbing so surely to eminence, 
I am forcibly reminded of Macaulay's fine pas- 
sage on the hollowness of political life: 'A 
pursuit from which, at most, they can only ex- 
peet, by relinquishing liberal studies and 
social pleasures, by parsing nights without 
sleep and summers without one glimpse of 
the beauty of nature, they may attain that la- 
borious, that invidious, that closely-watched 
slavery which is mocked with the name of 
power.' You have not asked my opinion of 
your speech." 

" I was not aware that you heard it." 

" Of course not, but I read it; and, let nte 
tell you, it was a great speech, a masterly ar- 
gument, that will make a lasting impression 
upon the people. It has greatly changed the 
vote of tins county already." 

" You mistake appearances; the seed fell in 
good soil, but party spirit came, as fowk of the 
air, and devoured them." 

" At any rate, it produced a profound im- 
pression on public opinion and startled some of 
our political patriarchs." 

" No, a mere transitory effect ; they have 
folded their arms and gone to sleep again. I 
am, of course, gratified by your favorable ap- 
preciation of my effort, but I differ with you 
as to its result. The ploughshare of naked 
truth must thoroughly subsoil the mind of the 
Southern sates before the iuture of the coun- 
try is realized in any degree;, as yet, the sur- 
face has been but slightly grazed. The hydra- 
headed foe of democracy is slowly but certain- 
ly coiling around our American eagle, and 
will crush it, if not seared promptly. But, 
Mr. Mitchell, the 'flaming brands' are not 
ready." 

'• To what hydra do you allude ?" 

" Demagogism, of course. Cleon was the 
prototype of a numerous class; the school is- 
nourishing vigorously at the North, and no- 
longer a stranger here. The people must root 
it out speedily, or the days of our national ex- 
istence are numbered." 

" Hi-tory proves it an invariable concomi- 
tant of democracy ; rather a rank offshoot 
from than antagonistic to it." 



98 



MACARIA-. 



" You confound the use and abuse of a sys- 
tem. Civilization is, indisputably, a blessing 
to our race, yet an abuse of the very improve- 
ments and discoveries that constitute its glory 
entails incalculable sorrow and swells criminal 
statistics. The march of medical science has 
induced the administering of deadly poisons 
with the happiest results, when skilfully di- 
rected; yet it sometimes happens that fatal 
effects follow an overdose. Powerful politi- 
cal levers should be handled judiciously — not 
thrown into the clutches of ignorant empirics." 

" Universal suffrage is ri&t your hobby, 
then ?" 

" On the contrary, I hold, with one of the 
most brilliant statesmen this country ever pro- 
duced, that ' it is the Greek horse introduced 
into the citadel of American liberties and sov- 
ereignty.' " 

" On my honor, I am astounded at hearing 
you quote and endorse a dictum of Hamilton. 
The millennium can't be far off, when demo- 
crats seek illustration from federalism !"' 

" Bigotry in politics is as indefensible as in 
religion or science. Truth is a sworn foe to 
monopolists ; is the exclusive right of no one 
organization or party that ever waxed and 
waned. I am a democrat ; I believe in liberal, 
enlarged, but not universal suffrage; it is a 
precious boon, and should be hedged about 
with cautious restrictions. The creation of 
the ephori was a sort of compromise measure, 
a concession to appease the people of Sparta, 
and, as an extension of the elective franchise, 
was most deplorable in it J results. Universal 
suffrage always recalls to my mind the pithy 
criticism of Anacharsis, the Scythian philoso- 
pher, on the Solonian code, which lodged too 
much power in the hands of the people : 
* Wise men debate, but fools decide." Mr. 
Mitchell, it matters little whether we have 
one or one hundred million tyrants if our 
rights are trampled ; it is a mere question of 
taste whether you call the despot Czar, Dicta- 
tor, or Ballot-box. The masses are electrical, 
and valuable principles of government should 
be kept beyond the reach of explosion." 

" And, except in a powerful centralization, 
where CGuld you place them for safety V" 

" They are already deposited in the consti- 
tution. I would, in order to secure them, ex- 
tend our naturalization laws so as to restrict 
the foreign vote, limit the right of suffrage by 
affixing a property qualification, make the ten- 
ure of our judiciary offices for life or good 
behavior, and lengthen the term of administra- 
tion of our chief magistrate, thereby diminish- 
ing the frequency of popular elections, which, 
in offering premiums for demagogism, has 
been a prolific cause of mischief, in examin- 
ing the statistics of the Northern and Western 
states recently, and. noting the dangerous 
results of the crude foreign vote, I was forci- 
bly reminded of a passage in Burke's ' Reflec- 
tions on the French Revolution :' ' Those who 



attempt to level never equalize. In all socie- 
ties, consisting of various descriptions of citi- 
zens, some description must be uppermost. 
The levellers, therefore, only change and per- 
vert the natural order of things ; they load 
the edifice of society by setting up in the air 
what the solidity of the structure requires to 
be on the ground.' The day is not far distant, 
I fear, when European paupers, utterly igno- 
rant of our institutions, will determine, who 
shall sit in the presidential chair, and how far 
the constitution shall be observed. These are 
grave truths, which the enlightened body of the 
American people should ponder well ; but, in- 
stead, they are made mere catch-words for 
party purposes, and serve only to induce a 
new scramble for office. It requires no extra- 
ordinary prescience to predict that the great 
fundamental principles of this government 
will soon become a simple question of arithme- 
tic — will lie at the mercy of an unscrupulous 
majority. The surging waves of Northern 
faction and fanaticism already break omi- 
nously against -our time-honored constitutional 
dykes, and if the South would strengthen her 
bulwarks there is no time to be slept or 
wrangled away." 

As he spoke, Russell's eyes fell upon a large 
oval vase on the mantle-piece filled with rare 
exotics, whose graceful tendrils were tastefully 
disposed into a perfumed fringe. Rising, he 
looked carefully at the brilliant hues, and said, 
as he bent to inhale their fragrance : 

" Where do you grow such flowers at this 
season V" 

" Irene brings them almost every day from 
the greenhouse on the hill. She take's a pe- 
culiar pleasure in arranging them in my vases. 
I think she stood a half-hour yesterday twin- 
ing and bending those stems the war she 
wanted them to hang. They are so brittle 
that I snap the blossoms off, but in her hands 
they seem pliable enough." 

Russell withdrew the fingers which had 
wandered caressingly amid the delicate leaves, 
and, reseating himself, took a book from his 
pocket. 

" Mr. Mitchell, I dare say you recollect a 
discussion which we had, some months ago, re- 
garding the Homeric unity question '{ Since 
that time I have been looking into Payne 
Knight's views on the subject, and am more 
than ever convinced that the German theory 
is incorrect. I will read a portion of his argu- 
ment, and leave the book lor you to examine 
at your leisure." 

'• By ail means ! But I thought your red- 
tape gyves kept you from archseoiogic re- 
searches ?" 

" It is true they do bind me tighter than I 
sometimes relish ; but we are all in bondage, 
more or less, and, since one must subxnit to 
tyranny, I prefer a stern master." He drew 
his chair nearer the lamp and began to read 
aloud. Nearly a half-hour passed thus, when 



MACARIA. 



S9 



the library-door was opened hastily arid Irene 
came in, dressed magnificently in party cos- 
tume. She stood a moment, irresolute and 
surprised, with her eyes fixed on Russell's, 
then both bowed silently, and she came to the 
fire. 

" How are you, Uncle Eric ? You look 
flashed — feverish." She laid her cold pearly 
hand on his forehead and stood at his side. 

" Tolerably comfortable, thanks to Mr. Au- 
brey, who has made me almost forget my 
headache. You will be fashionably late at the 
party to-night.'' 

"Yes! as usual; but for a better reason 
than because I wish to be fashionable.. I 
wanted to know how you were, and, as Father 
was not quite ready, I came in advance and 
sent the carriage back for him and Hugh. J 
was not aware that you were in Mr. Aubrey's 
hands for the evening. You were reading, I 
believe ; pardon my intrusion, and do not Jet 
me interrupt you." 

" Sit down, Irene ; here, child, where I can 
look at you. We can both bear such an in- 
terruption." 

Russell closed the volume, but kept his 
finger in the leaves, and his fascinated eyes 
went back to the face and form of the heiress. 
The dress was of heavy blue silk, with an 
overskirt and. bertha of rich white lace, loop- 
ed with bunches of violets a'nd geranium leaves. 

... ^ 

The rippling hair was drawn smoothly over 

the pure brow and coiled at the back of the 
head under a blue and silver netting, frpm 
which fuchsias of turquoise and pearl hung 
low on the polished neck. The arms and 
shoulders gleamed like ivory as the lamplight 
glowed over her; and, save the firm, delicate 
crimson lips, there was no stain of color in the 
cold but superbly beautiful face. It was the 
first time they had met since that evening 
at the cemetery, many months before. Lift- 
ing her splendid violet eyes, she met his gaze 
an instant, and, tapping the book, Russell 
asked, with quiet nonchalance : 

" Where do you stand, Miss Huntingdon, in 
this vexed Wolfian controversy concerning 
the authorship of the Iliad and Odyssey V" 

" I would render unto Cajsar the things 
that are Caesar's." 

" Equivocal, of course ! — a woman's answer," 
laughed her uncle. 

' " Explicitly, then, I believe that, as Scott 
absorbed the crude minstrelsy of Scotland, and 
reproduced national songs and legends under 
a fairer, sweeter form, so Homer, grand old 
blind eclectic, gathered the fragmentary myths 
of heroic ages, and, clothing them with the 
melody of wandering Greek rhapsodists, gave 
to the world his wonderful epic — the first and 
last specimen of composite poetic architect- 
ure." 

" You ascribe the Odyssey, then, to a differ- 
ent author and a later period ?" asked Mr. 
Mitchell. 



"T am too little versed in philology to de- 
termine so grave a question. My acquaint- 
ance with Greek is limited, and I am not com- 
petent to the task of considering all the evi- 
dence in favor of the identity of authorship." 

She put on her white cashmere cloak and 
stood still a moment, listening. 

" Good-night, Uncle Eric ; the carriage in- 
coming. I believe I should know the traffic 
of those horses amid a regiment of cavalry. - ' 

" Why need you hurry off r Let your 
father come in." 

" 1 will spare him that trouble. Good- 
night, Mr. Aubrey." 

She turned to leave the room, but, in gath- 
ering her cloak around her, dropped her fan. 
Russell stooped to pick it up, and, as he re- 
stored it, there hands met. His brow flushed, 
but not even the pale pearly glow of a sea- 
shell crept to her cheek. Again she raised 
her eyes to his, and a haughty, dazzling suiiiu 
flashed over her face as she inclined her b.ea:2. 

" Thank you, sir. ' 

There was a brief silence, broken by Eric, 
when the sound of the carriage had died 
away. 

" Irene is the only perfectly beautiful wom- 
an I ever saw ; and yet, Aubrey, it makes me 
sad to watch her countenance." 

" Whenever I see, her I can not avoid 
recalling an old Scandinavian myth, she 
realizes so fully my ideal Iduna standing at 
the portals of Valhalla, offering apples of im- 
mortality." 

He returned at once to his book and read 
several pages, occasionally pausing to call 
attention to some special passage; finally he 
rose and took his hat. 

" It is early yet, Aubrey ; don't go." 

" Thank you ; I must fulfil another engage- 
ment." 

"A word before you leave ; will you be a 
candidate for the legislature V" 
' " Yes ; I was waited upon by a committee 
to-day, and my name will be announced to- 
morrow. Good-night." 

Slowly he walked back to town, and, once 
upon the main street; took a new pair ofgloves 
from his pocket, fitted them carefully, and 
directed his steps to the elegant residence, 
whose approach was well-nigh blocked up 
with carriages. This was the second time that 
he had been invited by the Hendersons, and 
he had almost determined to decline as 
formerly, but something in Irene's chill man- 
ner changed his resolution. He knew, from 
various circumstances, that the social edict 
against him was being revoked in lashionable 
circles; that because he had risen without its 
permission, aid, or countenance, and in defiance 
of its sneers, the world was beginning to court 
him. A gloqmy scowl sat on his stern lips as 
he mounted the steps of the mansion from 
which his meek and suffering mother had 
borne bundles of plain work, or delicate masses 



100 



MACARIA. 



»}P embroidery, for the mother and daughter 
\-v ho passed her in the street with a supercilious 
stare.. Beau m-mde suddenly awoke to the 
reco'l°etion that, " after ali, Mrs. Aubrey be- 
longed Lo one of the wealthiest and first 
families in the state." At first Russell had 
proudly repelled all overtures, but gradually 
he was possessed by a desire to rule in the 
very circle which had so long excluded his 
family. Most, fully he appreciated his position 
and the motives which actuated the social 

autocrats of \V ; he was no longer the 

poor disgraced clerk, but the talented young 
lawyer, and prospective heir of Mr. Campbell's 
wealth. "Bitterly, bitterly came memories of 
early trial, and now the haughtiness of Irene's 
manner stung him as nothing else could pos- 
sibly have done, He was at a loss to compre- 
hend this change in one who had dared so 
much in order to assist his family, aud proud 
defiance aiose in his heart. It was ten o'cio k ; 
the fete was at its height; the sound of music, 
the shimmer of jewels, and rustle of costly 
silks mingled with the hum of conversation 
and the tread of dancing leet as Russell de- 
posited hat and overcoat in the dressing-room 
and entered the blazing parlors. The qua- 
drille had just ended, and gay groups chattered 
in the centre of the room ; among these, Maria 
Henderson, leaning on Hugh's arm, and Grace 
Harris, who had been dancing with Louis 
Henderson. As 'Russell crossed the floor to 
apeak to the host and hostess all eyes turned 
upon him, and a sudden hush fell on the merry 
dancers. 

"Coaxed at last within the pale of civiliza- 
tion! how did you contrive it, Louis V" asked 
Maiia. 

' ; Oh ! he declined when I invited him ; but 
I believe father saw him afterward and renew- 
ed the request. Do observe him talking to 
mother ; he. is as polished as if he had spent his 
life at court." 

" lie is a man whom I never fancied ; but 
that two hours speech of his was certainly the 
finest effort 1 e\er listened to. Caesar's am- 
bition was moderate in comparison with 
Aubrey's; and, somehow, even against my 
"will, I can't help admiring him, he is so cooily 
independent," said Hugh, eyeing him curi- 
ously.- 

" i heard father say that the democrats in- 
tend to semi him to the legislature next term, 
and the opposition are botiicred to match him 
t'ully. By the way, they speak of Mr. Hun- 
tingdon lor their candidate. But here eumes 
your ijei o, Miss Maria." As he spoke, Charlie 
Harris drew L.ick a few steps, anil suffered 
Resell to speak to the . young lady pi' the' 
house. Irene stood not fSr off, talking to the 
governor of the state, who chanced to be on 

a brief visit to \V , and quite near her 

Jud^K Harris and her father were in earnest 
conversation. Astonished at the sudden ap- 
parition, her eyes followed hiui as he bowed 



to the members of the central group ; and, as 
she heard the deep rich voice above the buzz 
of small-talk, she waited to see if he would 

notice her. Soon Governor G gave her 

his arm for a promenade, and she found her- 
self, ere long, very near Maria, who was ap- 
.proaching with Russell, lie was saying some- 
thing at which she laughed delightedly ; just 
then his eye fell on Irene ; there was no token 
of recognition on the part of cither ; but the 
governor, in passing, put out his hand to shake 
Russell's, and asked for Mr. C mipbell. Again 
and again they met during the ensuing hour, 
but no greeting was exchanged; then he dis- 
appeared. As Irene leaned against the win- 
dow-frame in the crowded suppei-room she 
heard Charlie Harris gaily bantering Maria on 
the events of the evening. 

*' What have you done with Audrey? I 
will challenge him before to-morrow morning, 
for cutting me out of my sckutliscke with his 
prosy chat.'' 

'• Oil ! he left a half-hour ago; excused him- 
self to mother on the plea of starting off to 
court at daybreak. He is perieetiy fascinat- 
ing ; don't you think so, Grace 'I Such eyes 
and lips ! and such a forehead !" 

" Don't appeal to me for corroboration, I 
beg of you, Maria, for you really gave nobody 
els* an opportunity of judging. Take a 
friendly hint, aud do not betray your admira- 
tion so publicly,' answered the friend, pouting 
her pretty childish lip. 

li 1 see clearly that the remainder of us may 
as well go hang ourselves at once for any fu- 
ture favor we can expect, since My Lord 
Aubrey condescends to enter the lists. Miss 
Irene, 1 have not heard you rhapsodizing yet 
about the new sensation. ' 

" I rarely rhapsodize about anything, sir." 

" To whom does he allude '(" asked Governor 
G , good-humoredly." 

" To Mr.. Aubrey, who is no stranger to you, 

I believe." 

li Ah ! Campbell's partner. I have had 
some correspondence with him recently, and 
when 1 met him at his office yesterday I was 
no longer surprised at the tone of his letters. 
His intellect is one of the keenest in the state ; 
his logical aud analytical powers are of the 
rarest order. I shall watch his career with 
great interest. Campbell may justly be proud 
of him." 

If she had felt any inclination to reply, the 
expression of her lather's face discouraged her. 

II ■ had joined them in time to hear the gov- 
ernor s eulogium, and she saw a sneer distort 
his features as he listened. Daring the drive 
homeward Mr. Huntingdon suddenly inter- 
rupted a strain of Hughs nonsense by ex- 
claiming : 

•' People have certainly lost common-sense ! 
Their memory is not as long as my little 
finger." 

'• What is the matter, sir ? With what re- 



MACARIA. 



102 



cent proof of imbecility have they favored 
you .' 

" The idea of that upstart wheedling this 
community' is utterly preposterous. His im- 
pudence is absolutely astounding. I am as- 
tonished that Henderson should give him 
countenance !" 

" The world has strange criteria to deter- 
mine its verdicts. His father was sentenced 
to be hung for committing murder; and my 
uncle, Clement Huntingdon, who deliberately 
shot a man dead in a duel, was received in 
social circles as cordially as if his hands were 
not blood-stained. There was more of pallia- 
tion in the first case (one of manslaughter), 
for it was the hasty, accidental work of a 
moment of passion ; in the last a cool, pre- 
meditated taking of human life. BuJ; the 
sensitive, fastidious world called one brutal 
and disgraceful, and the other ' honorable 
satisfaction,' in which gentlemen could indulge 
with impunity by crossing state lines. tern- 
pora ! mores !" 

As Irene uttered these words she invol- 
untarily crushed her bouquet and threw it 
from her, while Hugh expected an explosion 
of wrath on the part of his uncle. He merely 
muttered an oath, however, and smoked his 
cigar in sullen silence, leaving the cousins to 
discuss the events of the party during the re- 
mainder of the ride. 

Once more in his own room, at the quiet 
boarding-hotise, Russell lighted the gas-burner 
over a small desk and sat down to a mass of 
papers, The apartment was cold ; the fire had 
long since died out ; the hearth looked ashy and 
desolate. There was nothing home-like or cony 
in the aspect of the room ; the man lived at 
his office, and this was but a' place to pass the 
brief unconscious hours of sleep. He had no 
home-life, no social existence; was fast becom- 
ing callous, impervious, to the gentler emotions 
and kindly sympathies which domestic ties 
foster and. develop. 2To womanly touch left 
pleasant traces here, as in Eric's home; no 
graceful, luxurious trifles met the eye ; all 
things were cold and prim and formal. He 
had no kindred and few friends, but unbound- 
ed aspiration stood in lieu of both. Fortu- 
nately for him, his great physical strength 
enabled him to pursue a course of study which 
men of feebler constitution could never have 
endured. On the desk lay several volumes, 
carefully annotated for future reference — 
Ricardo, Malthus, Say, and Smith. To these 
he turned, Mid busied himself in transferring 
such excerpts as suited his purpose to an un- 
finished MS. designed for future legislative 
service. The brilliant smile which lighted his 
face an hour before, imparting an irresistible 
charm, had wholly faded, leaving the features 
to their wonted grave immobility— the accus- 
tomed non-committalism of the business-man of 
the world. The measured tones of the watch- 
,man on the town-tower recalled him, finally, 



from the cold realm of political economy ; he 
closed the books, took off his watch, and 
wound it up. It wanted but three hours to 
dawn ; but he heeded it not; the sight of the 
massive old watch brought vividly back the 
boyish days of sorrow, and he sat thinking ot 
that morning of shame, when Irene came close 
to him, nestling her soft little hand in his, 
and from some long-silent, dark, chill cham- 
ber of memory leaped sweet, silvery, childish 
echoes : 

" Oh, Russell ! if I could only help you 1" 
With an involuntary sigh he arose, and, 
walking to the chimney, leaned his elbow oa 
the mantle. But it would not answer ; the 
faint, delicious perfume of violets seemed to 
steal up from the gray ashes on the hearth, 
and the passionless, peerless face of a queenly 
woman followed him from the haunts of fash- 
ion. The golden-haired dream of his early- 
youth had lost none of her former witchery; 
she only shared the mastery of his heart 
with stern, unrelaxing Ambition, and the gulf 
which divided them only enhanced the depth, 
the holiness of his love for her. Since hi? 
return from Europe he had accustomed him- 
self to think of her as Hugh's wife ; but he 
found it daily more difficult to realize that 
she could willingly give her hand to her heed- 
less, self-indulgent cousin; and now the alter- 
ation in her manner toward him perplexed 
and grieved him. Did she suspect the truth, 
and fear that he might presume on her charity 
in by -gone years? To his proud spirit this 
was a suggestion singularly insulting, and he 
had resolved to show her in future that he 
claimed not even a nod of recognition. In- 
stead of avoiding her as formerly, he would 
seek occasions to exhibit an indifference which 
he little thought that her womanly heart would 
rightly interpret. He had found it more dif- 
ficult than he supposed to keep his attention 
chained to Maria's and Grace's gay nonsense; 
to prevent his eyes from wandering to the face 
whose image was enshrined in his lonely 
heart; and now, with complex feelings of ten- 
derness and angry defiance, he sought his pil- 
low for' a short respite, before the journey that, 
waited but for da) light. 

For a few weeks all \V was astir with 

interest in the impending election ; ne\v:-paper 
columns teemed with caustic articles, and 
Huntingdon and Aubrey clubs vilified each 
other with the usual aerimonv of such occa- 
sions. Mr. Campbell's influence was exten- 
sive, but the Huntingdon supporters were 
powerful, and the result seemed doubtful un- 
til the week previous to the election, when 
Russell, who had as yet taken no active part, 
accepted the challenge of his opponent to a 
public discussion. The meeting was held in 
front of the court-house, the massive stone 
steps serving as a temporary ro.-trum. The 
night was dark and cloudy, but huge bonfires, 
blazing barrels of pitch, threw a lurid glare 



102 



MACARIA. 



over tbe broad street, now converted into a 
surging sea of human heads. 

Surrounded by a committee of select friends 
Mr. Huntingdon sat, confident of success; and 
when tbe hiss of rockets ceased, he came for- 
ward and addressed the assembly in an hour's 
speech. As a warm and rather prominent 
politician, he was habituated to tbe task, and 
bursts of applause from his own party fre- 
quently attested the effect of his easy, grace- 
ful style and pungent irony. Blinded by 
personal hate, and hurried on by tbe excite- 
ment of the hour, he neglected the cautious 
policy which had hitherto been observed, and 
finally launched into a fierce philippic against 
his antagonist— holding up for derision the 
melancholy fate of his father, and sneefingly 
denouncing the " audacious pretensions of a 
political neophyte." 

Groans and hisses greeted this unexpected 
peroration, and many of bis own friends bit 
their lips and bent their brows in angry sur- 
prise, as be took his seat amid an uproar 
which would have been respectabte even in 
tbe days of the builders of Babel. Russell 
was sitting on the upper step, with bis head 
leaning on. his hand and bis eyes fixed on the 
mass of upturned, eager faces, listening pati- 
ently to the lengthy address, expecting just 
what be was destined to hear. At the men- 
tion of his family misfortunes he lifted his 
head, rose, and, advancing a few steps, took 
off his hat and stood confronting the speaker 
in full view of the excited crowd. And there 
the red light, flaring over his features, showed 
a calm, stern, self-reliant man, who felt that 
he had nothing to blush for in tbe past or to 
dread in the future. When the tirade ended, 
when the tumult ceased and silence fell upon 
the audience, he turned and fixed bis deep, 
glowing eyes full, on the face of his opponent 
for one moment, smiling haughtily ; then, as 
Mr. Huntingdon quailed before his withering 
gaze, he crossed his arms over his chest and 
addressed the meeting. 

He came, he said, to discuss questions of 
grave import to the state, not the pedigree or 
antecedents of his antagonist, with which, he 
supposed, the public had no concern. He 
could not condescend to tbe level of the gen- 
tleman ; was not a proficient, not his equal in 
slang phrases, or gross, vulgar vituperation, 
and scorned to fartber insult the good taste of 
bis hearers by acquainting them with the con- 
temptible motives of individual hatred which 
bad induced his opponent to forget what the 
rules of good-breeding anfl etiquette impera- 
tively demanded. He would not continue to 
disgrace the occasion by any refutation of the 
exceedingly irrelevant portion of tbe preced- 
ing harangue, which related to purely personal 
matters and was unworthy of notice, but 
asked the attention of his hearers, for a few 
moments, while he analyzed the platform of 
his party.' Briefly he stated tbe issues divid- 



ing the people of tbe state ; warned the oppo- 
sition of the probable results of their policy, 
if triumphant ; and, with resistless eloquence, 
pleaded for a firm maintenance of 'the princi- 
ples of his own part} \ He was, he averred, 
no alarmist, but be proclaimed that the people 
slept upon the thin heaving crust of a volcano 
which would inevitably soon burst forth ; and 
the period was rapidly approaching when the 
Southern states, unless united and on the 
alert, would lie bound at the feet of an in- 
solent and rapacious Northern faction. He 
demanded that, through the legislature's, tbe 
states should appeal to Congress for certain 
restrictions and guarantees, which, if denied, 
would justify extreme measures on the part of 
the people. The man's marvellous magnetism 
was never more triumphantly attested ; the 
mass, who bad listened in profound silence to 
every syllable which passed his lips, now vent- 
ed their enthusiasm in prolonged and vocifer- 
ous applause and vehement cries of " Go on ! 
go on 1" The entire absence of stereotyped 
rhodomontade rendered his words peculiarly 
impressive, as he gave them utterance with no 
visible token of enthusiasm. He did not lash 
the passions of tbe populace into a passing 
phrensj', but effectually stirred the great deep 
of sober feeling and sound sense. With his 
elegant, graceful delivery, and polished, spark- 
ling diction, he stood, as it were, on some lofty 
cool pedestal, and pointed unerringly to com- 
ing events, whose shadows had not yet reached 
them, of which they had not dreamed before, 
and it was not wonderful that the handsome 
young speaker became an idol to be worshipped 
afar off. 

As he descended the steps and disappeared 
amid the shouts of the crowd, Judge Harris 
turned to Mr. Huntingdon and said, with ill- 
concealed annoyance : 

" You have lost your election by your con- 
founded imprudence." 

" That remains to be seen, sir," was the 
petulant rejoinder. 

' L It is a foregone conclusion," muttered Dr. 
Arnold, buttoning his overcoat and looking 
around for bis cane. 

" I have sworn a solemn oath that I will 
trample the upstart out of existence, at least 
politically '" 

"As well try to trample on tbe star3 yonder ! 
Your speech ruined you, I am afraid !" 

The judge walked off, pondering a heavy 
bet which he had relative to the result. 

By sunrise on the day of the election the 
roads leading to town were crowded with vot- 
ers making their way to the polls. The 
drinkiug-saloons were full to overflowing ; the 
sidewalks thronged with reeling groups as 
the day advanced. Because the Huntingdon 
side bribed freely, the Aubrey partisans felt 
that they must, from necessity, follow the dis- 
graceful precedent. Not a lady showed her 
face upon the street ; drinking, wrangling, 



MACARIA. 



103 



fighting, was tbe order of the day. Windows 
were smashad, buggies overturned, and the 
police exercised to tbe utmost. Accompanied 
by a few friends, Mr. Huntingdon rode from 
poll to poll, encouraging his supporters and 
drawing heavily upon his purse, while Russell 
remained quietly in his office, well assured of 
the result. At five o'clock, when the town 
polls closed, Russell's votes showed a majority 
of two hundred and forty-four. Couriers 
came in constantly from country precincts, 
with equally favorable accounts, and at ten 
o'clock it was ascertained, beyond doubt, that 
he was elected. Irene and her uncle rode 
down to learn the truth, and, not knowing 
where to find Mr. Huntingdon, stopped the 
carriage at the corner of the main street and 
waited a few moments. Very soon a rocket 
whizzed through the air, a band of music 
struck up before Russell's office, and a number 
of his adherents insisted that he should show 
himself on the balcony. A crowd immediately 
collected opposite, cheering the successful can- 
didate and calling for a speech. He came 
out, and, in a few happy, dignified words 
thanked them for the honor conferred, and 
pledged himself to guard most faithfully the 
interests committed to his keeping. After the 
noisy constituents had retired he stood talking 
to some friends, when he chanced to recognize 
the fiery horses across the street. The car- 
riage-top was thrown back, and by the neigh- 
boring gaslight he saw Irene's white face 
turned toward him, then the horses sprang 
off. Mr. Campbell noticed,, without under- 
standing, the sudden start and bitter though 
triumphant smile that crossed his face in the 
midst of .pleasant gratulatious. 

" Go home, Andrew. I know now what I 
came to learn." 

Irene sank back and folded her mantle 
closer around her. 

" Is Master elected ?" 

" No." 

" Your father's speech, last week, was most 
unfortunate in every respect," said her uncle, 
who felt indignant and mortified at the course 
pursued by his brother-in-law. 

" We will not discuss it, if you please, Uncle 
Eric, as it is entirely useless now." 

" Don't you think that Aubrey deserves to 
succeed ?" 

" Yes." 
. Her dreary tone disconcerted him, and he 
offered no further comment, little suspecting 
that her hands were pressed hard against her 
heart and that her voiceless sorrow was : 
"Henceforth we must be still more estranged; 
a wider gulf, from this night, divides us." 

The din, the tumult of the day, had hushed 
itself, and deep silence brooded over the sleep- 
ing town, when, by the light of the newly-risen 
moon, Russell leaned upon the little gate and 
gazed on the .neglected cottage, overgrown 
with vines and crumbling to ruin. A sweet, 



resigned face smiled at him once more from 
the clustering tendrils that festooned the 
broken window, where, in other years, his 
mother had been wont to sit at work, watch- 
ing for his return ; and, in this hour of his first 
triumph, as he sought the hallowed spot and 
thoughts of her long martyrdom, recollection 
rolled its troubled waves over his throbbing, 
exultant heart, until the proud head dropped 
on the folded arms and tears fell upon the 
mouldering gate. 

" Oh, .Mother ! Mother ! if you could have 
lived to see this day — to share my victory !"•» 

'" Ghost-like I paced round the h-iints of my childhood, 
Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse, 
Seeking to find the old familiar faces. 

•£ % *: X % % £ 

AH, all are gone, the old familiar faces 1" 



CHAPTER XXII. 

' The icy breath of winter, the mild wander- 
ing ah's of spring, the luxurious laissez-nous- 
faire murmurs of summer, and the solemn 
moan of autumn had followed each other in 
rapid succession. Two years rolled on, stained 
with the tears of many, ringing with the songs 
and laughter of a fortunate few. The paths 
of some had widened into sunny pastures, 
flower-starred, Cridavana meadows ; others 
had grown narrower still, choked with the 
debris of dead hopes, which the tide of time 
drifted from the far-off glittering peaks of 
early aspirations. The witchery of Southern 

spring again enveloped W , and Irene 

stood on the lawn surveying the ." greenery 
of the out-door world " that surrounded her. 
Peach and plum orchards on the slope of a 
neighboring hill wore their festal robes of 
promise, and as the loitering breeze stole 
down to the valley they showered rosy per- 
fumed shells, tiny at) ant couriers of abundant 
fruitage." The air was redolent with delicate 
distillations from a thousand flowery laborato- 
ries, stately magnolias rustled their polished 
shimmerin"' leaves, long-haired acacias trailed 
their fringy shadows over the young wavering 
grass-blades ; and, far above the" soft green 
wilderness of tangled willows, regal pines 
spread out their wind-harps, glittering in the 
sunshine like spieulse of silver. A delicious 
languor brooded in the atmosphere; the distant 
narrow valleys were full of purple haze ; be- 
yond and above the town, that nestled so 
peacefully along the river banks, the marble 
fingers of the cemetery gleamed white and 
cold ; and afar off, and over all, was heard the 
measured music of factory bells, chanting a 
hymn to sacred and eternal Labor. With "her 
brown straw hat in one hand and a willow- 
basket tilled with flowers in the other, Irene 
leaned against the glossy trunk of an ancient 
wild-cherry tree, and looked in dreamy ab- 
straction down the long shadowy vista of ven- 



104 



MAC ARIA. 



erable elms. Paragon lay panting on the grass 
at her feet, now ami then snapping playfully 
at the tame pigeons who had followed their 
mistress out upon the lawn, fluttering and 
cooing continually around her; and a few 
yards off a golden pheasant and two peacocks 
sunned their gorgeous plumage on the smooth- 
ly-cut hedges. 

" . Some faces show 

The last act of a trngoriy in Iheir rogard, ' 
Though the first scenes be wanting;" 

and in this woman's sad but intensely calm 
countenance a joyless life found silent history. 
The pale forehead bore not a single line, the 
quiet mouth no ripple-marks traced by rolling 
years; but the imperial eyes, coldly- blue as 
the lonely ice-girt Marjelen-See, revealed, in 
their melancholy crystal depths, the dreary 
isolation of soul with which she had been 
cursed from infancy. Her face was an ivory- 
tablet inscribed with hieroglyphics which no 
Hocial, friendly Champolion had yet deciphered. 
Satiated with universal homage, weary of the 
frivolity of the gay circle surrounding her, 
and debarred from all hope of affectionate, 
sympathetic intercourse with her father, her 
real life was apart from the world in which 
report said that she ruled supreme. She 
wandered iii the primeval temples of nature, 
and ministered, a solitary priestess, at the si- 
lent, blazing shrine of Astronomy. The soft 
folds of her white muslin dress stirred now and 
then, and the blue ribbons that looped back 
her braided hair fluttered like mimic pennons 
in the breeze; but the clematis bells which 
clustered around her cameo-pin were unshaken 
by the slow pulsations of her sad heart. She 
felt that her life was passing rapidly, unim- 
proved, and aimless ; she knew that her years, 
instead of being fragrant with the' mellow 
fruitage of good deeds, were tedious and joy- 
less, and that the gaunt, numbing hand of 
ennui was elosnig upon her. The elasticity of 
spirits, the buoyancy of youth, had given place 
to a species of stoical mute apathy; a mental 
and moral paralysis was stealing over her. 

The slamming of the ponderous iron gate 
.attracted her attention, and she saw a carriage 
ascending the avenue. As it reached a point 
opposite to the spot where she stood it halted, 
the door was thrown open, and a gentlem \n 
stepped out and approached her. The form 
was not familiar, and the straw hat partially 
veiled the features, but he paused before her 
and said, with a genial smile : 

" Don't you know me V" 

"Oh, Harvey! My brother! My great 
guardian angel !" 

A glad light kindled in her face, and she 
stretched out her han'ds with the eagerness of 
a delighted child. Time had pressed heavily 
upon him ; wrinkles were conspicuous about the 
corners of his eyes and mouth, and the black 
hair had become a steely gray. He was not 

" A little sunburnt by the gliu-o of life," 



but weather-ljeaten by its storms ; and, in lieu 
of the idiosyncratic placidity of former days, a 
certain restlessness of expression betokened 
internal disquiet. Holding her hands, he drew 
her nearer to him, scrutinized her features, 
and a look of keen sorrow crossed his own as 
he said, almost inaudily : 

" I feared as much ! I feared as much ! The 
shadow has spread." 

"You kept Punic faith with me, sir; you 
promised to write and failed. I sent you one 
letter, but it was never answered." 

" Through no fault of mine, Irene ; I never 
received it, believe me. True, I expected to 
write to you frequently when I parted with 
you, but subsequently determined that it would 
be best not to do so. Attribute my silence, 
however, to every other cause than want of 
remembrance." 

" Your letters would have been a great stay 
and comfort to me." 

" Precisely for that reason T sent none. I 
knew that you must rely upon yourself; that 
I could not properly judge of the circum- 
stances which surrounded and influenced you. 
One, at least, of my promises has been faith- 
fully fulfilled : I have prayed for you as often 
as for myself in all these years of separation." 

" God only knows how I have wanted, how 
I have needed you, to guide and strengthen 
me." 

She raised the two hands that still held hers 
and bowed her forehead upon them. 

" You had a better Friend, dear child, al- 
ways near you, who would have given surer 
guidance and borne all your burdens. What 
I most dreaded has come to pass. You have 
forgotten your God." 

'■ No ! indeed, no ! but lie has forsaken 
me." 

" Come and sit down here, and tell me what 
the trouble is." 

He led her to a circular seat surrounding a 
venerable oak, and placed himself where he 
could command a full view of her face. 

" Mr. Young, you must have had a hard life 
out West : you have grown old so fast since I 
saw you. But you have been doing good, and 
that is sufficient recompense." 

" I have, of course, endured some hardships 
inseparable from such a Ion 2 sojourn on the 
frontier, but my labors have been so successful 
that. I forget everything in my great reward. 
Many a fair June day I have wished that you, 
could see my congregation, as we stood up to 
sing in a cool shady grove of beech or back- 
berry, offering our orisons in ' God's first 
temples.' ]S T o brick and mortar walls, but 
pavements of God's own living green, and 
dome of blue, and choir of sinless consecrated 
birds. My little log-cabin in the far West is 
very dear to me, for around it cluster some of 
the most precious reminiscences of my life. 
The greatest of my unsatisfied wants was that 
of congenial companionship. I betook myself 



MACARIA. 



105 



to gardening in self-defence, and finer annuals 
you never saw than those which I raised on 
my hill-side. My borders I made of migno- 
nette, and the rusty front of rny cabin I draped 
with beautiful festoons of convolvulus. My 
hermitage was pleasant enough, though hum- 
ble indeed." 

" Tell me the secret of your quiet content- 
ment. By what spell do you invoke the 
atmosphere of happy serenity that constantly 
surrounds you ?" 

" It is neither occult, nor cabalistic ; you will 
find it contained in the few words of Paul : 
• Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abound- 
in<r in the work of the Lord ; forasmuch as ye 
know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.' 
There is nothing recondite in this injunction ; 
all may comprehend and practice it." 

" It may seem so to you, who dispense peace 
and blessings wherever you move ; but to me, 
alone and useless, cut off from such a sphere 
of labor, it might as well be locked up in Par- 
see. I thought once that God created every 
human being for some particular work — some 
special mission. That, in order that the vast 
social machinery of the world might move har- 
moniously, each had his or her allotted duties, 
in accordance with the great fundamental law 
of economy — ' division of labor.' But, like 
many other youthful theories, I have, been 
compelled to part with this also." 

" Rather hold fast to it, for the precious 
truth it is. Do you not find, on reflection, 
that the disarrangement, the confusion in this 
same social mill proves that softie of the hu- 
man cogs are broken, or out of place, or not 
rendering their part ? I am older than you, 
and have travelled farther, and I have yet to 
see the New Atlantis, where every member of 
society discharges fully the duties assigned. 

"' I might say. in a world full of lips that lack bread, 
And of simU th.it, lack light, there are mouths to lie fed, 
There are wounds to bo healed, there is work to he done, 
And life can withhold love and duty from none!'" 

"Irene, 'why stand ye here all the day 
idle ?' Why wait afar off' to glean, where you 
should be a busy reaper in God's whitening 
harvest-fields '? — closing your ears to the eager 
cry, ' The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers 
are few !' " 

A wintry smile flitted over her lips and she 
Bhook her head. 

" Ah, sir ! long ago I marked out a different 
programme ; but my hands are tied. I am led 
along another path ; I can do nothing now." 

" You owe allegiance first to your Maker. 
What stands between you and your work ? 
Irene, tell me what is this dark cloud that 
shuts out sunshhie from your heart and throws 
such a chill shadow over your face ?" 

He drew down the hand with which she 
shaded her eyes, and bent his head till the 
gray locks touched her cheek. She did not 
shrink away, but looked at him steadily, and 
answered : 



" It is a cloud that enveloped me from the 
hour of my birth, and grows denser each year; 
I can neither escape from nor dissipate it. It 
will not break in storms and clear away ; but, 
perchance, as T go down to my tomb the silver 
linkig may show itself. The sun was eclipsed 
when I first opened my 4 eyes in this world, and 
my future was faithfully adumbrated. I am 
not superstitious, but.I can not be blind to the 
striking analogy — the sombre symbolism." 

His grave face was painfully convulsed as he 
listened to her, and it was with difficulty that 
he restrained himself from drawing the head to 
his shoulder and revealing all the depth and 
strength of love which had so long ruled his 
heart and saddened his life. But he merely 
enclosed her hand in both his with a gentle 
pressure, and said : 

'* Carry out your metaphor, and at least you 
must admit that, though the sun was eclipsed, 
stars come out to light you." 

" But, at best, one shivers and gropes through 
the cold light of stars, and mine have all set in 
a clouded sky. You only are left to me ; you 
shine on me still, undimmed, all the brighter 
for my gloom. Oh ! if I could have you 
always. But as well stretch out my hands to 
clutch the moon." 

He started, and looked at her wistfully, but 
the utter passionlessness of her face and man- 
ner showed him all too plainly the nature of 
her feelings and her ignorance of his own. 

" Irene, you deal in similies and' vague gen- 
eralities. Has absence shaken your confidence 
in me ? Be frank*; tell me what this haunt- 
ing trouble is, and let. me help you to exor- 
cise it." 

" You can not. All the Ternphim of the 
East would not avail. Let it suffice that, 
many years since, I displeased my father in a 
trifling matter ; and, as I grew older, my views 
and wishes conflicted with his. I disappointed 
a darling plan which he had lo,.g cherished, 
and we are estranged. We live here, father 
and daughter, in luxury ; we give and go to 
parties and dinners ; before the world we keep 
up the semblance of affection and good feel- 
ing ; but he can not, will not, forgive me. I 
have ceased to ask or to expect it ; the only 
possible condition of reconciliation is one to 
which I can never consent; and, for more 
than two years, he has scarcely spoken to me 
except when compelled to do so. I pass my 
days in a monotonous round, wishing for to- 
morrow, and my nights yonder, among the 
stars. I have little money to dispense in chari- 
ty ; I dress richly, but the materials are select- 
ed by my father, who will have my clothing 
of the costliest fabrics, to suit his elegant and 
fastidious taste. Though an only child, and 
presumptive heiress of one of the 'finest estates 
at the South, I have not a dime in the world 
which I can call my own, except a small sum 
which he voluntarily allows me per annum. 
Mark you, I do not complain of my father — 



106 



MACAKIA. 



for, in the twinkling of an eye, I could chancre 
this unnatural position of affairs in my home ; 
I only mention some stern facts to prove to 
you that my hands are tied. It was once the 
fondest desire of mv life to expend the fortune 
that T supposed belonged to me in alleviating 
suffering and want, and making people happy 
around me ;' but, like other dewy sparkles of 
childhood, this hope vanished as the heat and 
strife of life overtook me." 

She spoke in a low, measured tone, unshaken 
by emotion, and the expression of dreary ab- 
straction showed that she had long accustom- 
ed herself to this contemplation of her lot. 
The minister was deeply moved as he watched 
her beautiful calm features, so hushed in their 
joylessness, and he passed his hand across his 
eyes to wipe away the moisture that so un- 
wontedly dimmed them. He pressed her fin- 
gers to his lips and said, encouragingly : 

"' Lift thyself np! oh, thon of saddened face! 
Oease from thy sieliinc draw from out thy heart 
The joyful light of faith.' " 

" You asked me once to be your brother ; 
my dear child, let me prove myself such now ; 
let me say that, perhaps, it is your duty to 
yield obedience to your father's wishes, since 
this deplorable alienation results from your 
refusal. You never can be happ3% standing 
in this unnatural relation to an only parent. 
Because it is painful, and involves a sacrifice 
on your part, should you consider it any the 
less your duty ? Has he not a right to expect 
that his wishes should guide 'you ?" 

She rose instantly, and, withdrawing her 
hands, folded them together and replied, with 
an indescribable mingling of hauteur and SOr- 
row : 

" Has he a right to give my hand to a man 
whom T do not love ? Has he a right to drag 
me to the altar, and force me to swear to ' love 
and honor ' one whom I can not even respect ? 
Could you stand by and see your father doom 
your sister to such a miserable fate ? I would 
consent to die for my father to-morrow, if 
thereby I might make him happy ; but I can 
not endure to live, and bring upon myself the 
curse of a loveless marriage ; and, God is my 
witness, I never will !" 

Her eyes gleamed like blue steel, and the 
stern, gem-like features vividly reminded him 
of a medal of the noble Medusa which he had 
frequently examined and admired while in 
Rome. In that brief flash he saw, with aston- 
ishment, that beneath the studiedly calm ex- 
terior lay an iron will- and a rigidness of pur- 
pose which he had never conjectured belonged 
to her character. 

" Forgive me, Irene ; I retract my words. 
Ignorant of the nature of the demand, I should 
not have presumed to counsel you. Keep 
true to the instincts of your own heart, and 
you will never go far astray in the path of 
duty. May God bless and comfort you ! Oth- 



er friends can lend you no assistance in these 
peculiar circumstances." 

Fie could not trust himself to say more, for 
feelings too painful for utterance stirred the 
depths of his soul. 

For some moments silence reigned ; then, 
standing before him, Irene said, with touching 
pathos : 

" My friend, I am so desolate ! so lonely ! I 
am drifting down the current of life aimless, 
hopeless, useless ! What shall I do with my 
future ? I believe I am slowly petrifying ; I 
neither suffer nor enjoy as formerly ; my feel- 
ings are deadened ; I am growing callous, in- 
different to everything. I am fast losing 'sym- 
pathy for the sorrows of others, swallowed up 
in self, oblivious of the noble aspirations which 
spanned the early years like a bow of promise. 
I am cut off from companionship; have no 
friend, save an uncle, to whom I could put out 
my hand for support. People talk of the des- 
olation of Western wilds and Eastern deserts ; 
but, oh ! God knows there is no isolation 
comparable to that of a woman who walk 
daily through halls of wealth and gay salons, 
knowing that no human being understands or 
truly sympathizes with her. My prophet ! as 
you long ago foretold, I am ' treading the 
wine-press alone.' Once more I ask you, what 
shall I do with my life ?" 

" Give it to God." 

" Ah ! there is neither grace nor virtue in 
necessity. He will not accept the worthless 
thing thrown at His feet as a dernier ressort. 
Once it was my choice, but the pure, clear- 
eyed faith of my childhood shook hands with 
me when you left me in New York." 

For a short while he struggled with himself, 
striving to overcome the unconquerable im- 
pulse which suddenly prompted him, and his 
iace grew pallid as hers as he walked hastily 
across the smooth grass and came bai'k to her. 
Her countenance was lifted toward the neigh- 
boring hill, her thoughts evidently far away, 
when he- paused before her and said, unsteadi- 

" Irene, my beloved ! give yourself to me. 
Go with me into God's vineyard ; let us work 
together, and consecrate our lives to His ser- 
vice." 

The mesmeric eyes gazed into his. full of 
wonder, and the rich ruby tint fled from her 
lips as she pondered his words in -unfeigned 
astonishment, and, shaking her regal head, an- 
swered slowly : 

" Harvey, I am not worthy. I want your 
counsel, not your pity." 

" Pity ! you mistake me. If you have been 
ignorant so long, know now that I have loved 
you from the evening you first sat in my study 
looking over my foreign sketches. You were 
then a child, but I was a man, and I knew all 
that you had so suddenly become to me. Be- 
cause of this great disparity in years, and 
because I dared not hope that one so tenderly 



MACARIA. 



107 



nurtured could ever brave the hardships of 
my projected life, I determined to quit New 
York earlier than I had anticipated, and to 
bury a foolish memory in the trackless forests 
of the far West. 1 ought to have known the 
fallacy of my expectation ; I have proved it 
since. Your face followed me ; your eyes met 
mine at every turn ; your glittering hair swept 
on every breeze that touched my cheek. I 
battled with the image, but it would not avail ; 
I resolved not to write to you, but found that 
the dearest part of my letters from home 
consisted of the casual allusions which they 
contained to you. Then came tidings from 
Louisa that you were probably married — had 
long been engaged to your cousin ; and, thoush 
it wrung my heart to think of you as the wife 
of another, I schooled myself to hope that, for 
your sake, it might be true. But years passed ; 
no confirmation reached me ; and the yearning 
to look on your dear face once more took pos- 
session of me. My mother wrote, urging ma 
to visit her this summer, and I came out of 
my way to hear of and to see you. The world 
sneers at the possibility of such love as mine, 
and I doubt not that it is very rare among 
men ; but, through all the dreary separation, 
I have thought of you as constantly, and fond- 
ly, and tenderly as when I first met you in my 
father's bouse. Irene, you are young, and 
singularly beautiful, and I am a gray-haired 
man, much, much older than yourself; but, if 
you live a thousand years, you will never find 
such affection as I offer you now. There is 
nothing on earth which would make me so 
happy as the possession of your love. You are 
the only woman I have ever seen whom I even 
wished to call my wife — the only woman who, 
I felt, could lend new charm to life and make 
my quiet hearth happier by her presence. 
Irene, will you share my future? Can you 
give me what I ask ?" 

The temptation was powerful — the future he 
held out enticing indeed. The strong, holy, 
manly love, the noble heart and head to guide 
her, the firm, tender hand to support her, the 
constant, congenial, and delightful companion- 
ship — all this passed swiftly through her mind ; 
but, crushing all in its grasp, came the memory 
of one whom she rarely met, but who held 
undisputed sway over her proud heart. 

Drawing close to the minister, she laid her 
hands on his shoulder, 'and, looking reverently 
up into his fine face, said, in her peculiarly 
sweet clear voice : 

" The knowledge of your priceless, unmerited 
love makes me proud beyond degree ; but I 
would not mock you by the miserable and only 
return I could make you — the affection of a 
devoted sister. I would gladly, thankfully go 
with you to your Western home, and redeem 
my past by my future — but, as your wife, I 
could not ; and, without the protection of your 
honored name, it would not be permitted me 
to accompany you. I look up to you as to no 



other human being ; I revere and love you, 
Harvey ; and, oh ! I wish that I could pass my 
life at your side, cheered bv vour smile, doing 
some good in the world. That I do not love 
you as you wish is my great misfortune ; for 
I appreciate most fully the noble privilege 
you have tendered me. I do not say what I 
earnestly wish could happen, that you will 
find some one else who can make you happy, 
because I feel that no woman whom I have 
ever met is worthy of being your wife. But 
I trust that the pain I may give you now will 
soon pass away, and that, in time, you will 
forget one who is utterly undeserving of the 
honor you have conferred on her to-day. 
Oh, Harvey ! do not. I beg of you, let one 
thought of me ever disquiet your noble, gen- 
erous heart." 

A shiver crept over her still face, and she 
drooped her pale forehead. S ( he felt two tear3 
fall upon her hair, and in silence he bent 
down and kissed her softly, tenderly, as one 
kisses a sleeping babe. 

" Oh, Harvey ! do not let it grieve you, 
dear friend !" 

He smiled sadly, as if not daring to trust 
himself in words ; then, after a moment, layin* 
his hands upon her head, in the baptism of a 
deathless love, he gently and solemnly blessed 
her. When his fingers were removed she 
raised her eyes, but he had gone ; she saw 
only the retreating form through the green 
arches of the grand old avenue. 

"Unlike are we. unlike. princely heart! 
Unlike our uses and our destinies. 
Our ministering two angels look surprise 
On one another, as they strike athwart 
Their wings in passing'. 

The chrism is on thine head — on mine the dew, 
And death must dig the' level where these agree." 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

Says D'Alembert: " The industry of men is 
now so far exhausted in canvassing for places 
that none is left for fulfilling the duties of 
them ;" and the history of our government 
furnishes a melancholy parallel. The regular 
quadrennial storm had swept over the nation ; 
caucuses had been held and platforms fiercely 
fought for, to be kicked away, plank by plank, 
when they no longer served as scaffolding by 
which to climb to office. Buchanan was 
elected, but destined to exemplify, during his 
administration, the truth of Tacitus' words : 
" He was regarded as greater than a private 
man whilst he remained in privacy, and would 
have been deemed worthy of governino- if he 
had never governed." The heat of the can- 
vass cooled, people settled down once more to 
a condition- of lethargic indifference — bought 
andsold, sowed and reaped, as usual— little 
realizing that the temporary lull, the perfect 
calm, was treacherous as the glassy green ex- 



108 



MACARIA. 



panse of waters which, it is said, sometimes 
covers the location of the all-destroying masl- 
strom of Moskoe. Having taken "an active 
and prominent part in the presidential cam- 
paign, and made frequent speeches, Russell 
found himself again opposed by Mr. Hunting- 
don, who was equally indefatigable during 
the exciting contest. The old feud received, 
if possible, additional acrimony, and there 
were no bounds to the maledictions heaped 
upon the young and imperturbable legislator 
by his virulent antagonist. Many predicted a 
duel or a street rencounter ; but weeks passed, 
and though, in casual meetings, Mr. Hunting- 
don's glare of hate was always answered by a 
mocking smile of cold disdain, the cloud floated 
off without breaking into bloody showers. 

Mr. Mitchell's health had failed so rapidly, 
as winter approached, that Dr. Arnold per- 
suaded him to try the efficacy of a sea-voyatje, 
and he had accordingly sailed from New Or- 
leans in a vessel bound for Genoa. Irene 
begged the privilege of accompanying him, 
but her father peremptorily refused ; and she 
saw her uncle depart, and superintended the 
closing of his house, with silent sorrow, and 
the feeling of one who knows that the night is 
deepening around her. In the course of the 
political cataclysm much chaff came to the 
surface, and whirled along with portentous 
alacrity ; gossip seemed to have received a new 
impetus, and among the most important on-dits 
was that of Irene's speedy marriage to her 
cousin. Hundred-tongued rumor was busy, 
too, with the mysterious fact that Russell had 
placed a handsome iron railing around the 
bumble home of his boyhood ; had removed 
the little three-roomed crumbling dwelling 
and planted shade-trees. Much curiosity was 
excited, and the only plausible solution at 
which the kindly'inquiring public arrived was 
that he intended to marry somebody. But 
whom ? He occasionally visited at Judge Har- 
ris' and Mr. Henderson's, and, as he had been 
seen last at the house of the former, by a spe- 
cies of not very abstruse ratiocination it was 
finally decided, and promulgated as a social 
edict, that the talented young lawyer would 
soon claim Grace's hand at the altar. In less 
than twenty-four hours all of fashionable 

W hid dismissed the young lady's, 

brilliant future, and were ready to tender 
their congratulations to the ambitious man. 
who was utterly uuconseiousof the commotion 
which his individual plans and actions had 
induced. This insatiable mania for obtaining 
information about other people's affairs and 
purposes, this ridiculous and contemptible 
tittle-tattle, this news-mongering, scandal-ped- 
lering proclivity, characteristic of cities, towns, 
villages, and even country neighborhoods, 
should certainly have been included by the 
Massachusetts seer in his catalogue of "social 
inflictions which the magistrate can not cure or 
defend you from, and which must be intrusted 



to the restraining force of custom, and pro- 
verbs, and familiar rules of behavior impressed 
on young people in their school days;" and 
I trust I may be allowed the additional sug- 
gestion, " by mothers around the hearthstone"" 
But, unfortunately, the admirable adage, "i/ 
faut attendre le boiteux," finds no acceptation 
in beau monde. 

Late in the afternoon of Christmas-day 
Irene went into the greenhouse to gather a 
bouquet for an invalid friend in town," and had 
almost accomplished her errand when the 
crash and whir of wheels drew her to the win- 
dow that looked out upon the lawn. Her 
father had gone to the plantation early that 
morning, and she had scarcely time to conjeck 
ure whom the visitor would prove, when 
Hugh's loud voice rang through the house, 
and, soon after, he came clattering in, with 
the. end of his pantaloons crammed into h;» 
boots and his whip trailing along in true 
boyish fashion. As he threw down his hat, 
scattering the petals.of a snowy camellia, and 
drew near his cousin, she saw that his face was 
deeply flushed and his eyes somewhat blood- 
shot. 

" Hugh ! what are you doing here ? Father 
expected you to overtake him at Crescent 
Bend ; you said last night that you would start 
by five o'clock." 

" Merry Christmas, my beauty! I have come 
for my Christmas gift. Give it to me, like the 
queen you are." 

He stooped, as if to kiss her, but she shrank 
back instantly and said, gravely : 

" You ought not to make promises which 
you have no idea of keeping; Father will be 
annoyed, and wonder very much what ha' 
happened. He was anxious that you should 
go with him." 

" Oh ! confound the plantation ! I wish it 
would sink ! Of all other days none but Christ- 
mas will suit him to tramp down there through 
mud and mire. The fact is, I did not go to 
sleep till four o'clock, and nobody ought to be 
unchristian enough to expect- rue to wake up 
in an hour. You may be quiet, though, for I 
am on my way now to that paradise of black 
mud. I only stopped to get a glimpse of yon, 
my Sappho ! my Corinna"! so (lon"c homilize, 
I pray yo:i." 

" Better wait till daylight, Hugh ; you know 
the state of the roads and condition of the 
bridges. It will be safer, and an economy of 
time, to defer it till morning, since you have 
made it so late." 

"No ; I must go to-night, for I have an en- 
gagement to ride with Maria Henderson, and 
1 can't get back in time if i wait till to-mor- 
row morning. I want to start back day after 
to-morrow. As for time, Wildfire will make 
it the better for the darkness; he is as much 
afraid of night and shadows as if he had i. 
conscience, and had maltreated it, master-like. 
I shall convince him that all Tarn O'Shanter's 



MACARIA. 



109 



witches are in full pursuit and bis matchless 
heels his only salvation." 

A shade of apprehension settled on her face, 
»nd, placing the bouquet in . a basket, she 
turned to her cousin, saying: 
■ •'Indeed, you can not be insane enough to 
-drive that horse such a night as this weather 
threatens. Jl* go you will, in the face of a 
coming rain, leave Wildfire here, and drive 
one of the carriage-horses instead. I shall be 
uneasy if you start with that .vicious, unman- 
ageable incarnation of lightning. Let me 
ring the bell and direct Andrew to make the 
change." 

She stepped into the parlor adjoining and 
laid her lingers on the bell-cord, but he 
snatched up the hand and kissed it several 
times. 

" No ! I "11 be hanged if I don't drive my 
own pearl of Arabia ! I can manage him well 
enough ; and, beside, what do you care whether 
he breaks my neck or not ? Without com- 
punction you broke my heart, which is much 
the greater catastrophe.'' 

" Come into the library ; you don't know 
what you are saying." 

She drew him into the room, where a warm 
fire burned cheerfully, and made him sit down. 

" Where did you go last night when you left 
here? Tell me." 

" To Harry Meal's ; a party of us were in- 
vited there to drink egguog, and, of course, 
found something stronger afterward. Then 

we had a game or so of poker, and , the 

grand finale is, that I have had a deuced head- 
ache alt day. All, my sweet saint! how shocked 
you are, to be sure ! .Now, don't lecture, or I 
shall be off like a Hash." 

Without answering, she ranjj the bell and 
quietly looped back the heavy crimson cur- 
tains. 

" What is that for ? Have you sent for 
John or old Nellie to carry me up stairs, like 
other bad boy s sunt to bed in disgrace, with- 
out even the cold comfort of supper ?" 

"Hush, Hugh! hush." 

Turning to John, who opened the door and 
looked in, she said : 

" Tell Wiiliaui to make some strong coffee 
as soon as possible. Mass' Hugh has a headache, 
and wants some betore he leaves." 

'* Thank. you, my angel ! my unapproachable 
Peri! Ugli ! how cold it is. Pardon me, but 
I really must warm my feet." 

He threw them carelessly on the fender of 
the grate. 

" Shall I get you a pair of slippers?" 

"Could not, afford the> luxury ; positively 
have not the time to indulge myself." 

Willi a prolonged yawn he laid his head 
back and closed ms eyes. An expression of 
disgust was diseernibte in his companion's 
countenance, but it passed like the suadow of 
a summer cloud, and she sat down at the oppo- 
site side of the fireplace, with her eyes bent 



upon the hearth and the long silky lashes 
sweeping her cheeks. A silence of some min- 
utes ensued ; finally U'igli rapped startlingly 
on his boot with the ivory handle of his whip, 
and exclaimed : 

" A Quaker-meeting is no part of my pro- 
gramme ! What the mischief are you thinking 
about ? — looking as solemn as au archbishop in 
canonicals !" 

'■ Do you really want to know what I am 
thinking of? ' 

" Of course I do, if it is not something as 
supernal and far-off' as the stars, which you 
have taken under your special protection and 
patronage." 

" 1 was thinking of a passage which I read 
yesterday, and wishing that it could be framed 
and hung up in every dwelling. Emerson 
says: ' Goethe said well, '• nobody should be 
rich but those who understand it." They 
should own who can administer, not they who 
hoard and conceal; not they wnu, the greater 
proprietors they are, arc only the greater beg- 
gars; but they whose work carves out work 
for more, opens a path for ail. lor lie is the 
rich man in whom the people are rich, and 
he is the poof man in v. hum the people are 
poor; and how to give all access to the mas- 
terpieces of art and nature is the problem of 
civilization.' Weighed in this balance, how 
•many of our millionaires, think you, would 
find Belshazzar's warning traced on their 
walls ? ' 

'" All of which, I suppose, I am to interpret 
into a polite circumlocutory way of telling me 
that 1 am a woitbless spend thrift, squander- 
ing away a fortune winch i don't deserve, 
and a disgrace to my fair cousinly Lady 
Bountiful ? When do you contemplate mount- 
ing a pedestal, mai ble image tnat }ou are, 
folding those incomparable hands of yours, 
and encouraging ideiatiy ? 1 promise you 1 
shall fall down and worsmp most irreproacha- 
bly. But, .seriously, Irene, it ) ou du not ad- 
mire my style of living, wny 'ion t you take 
me in hand, as is your pnvJcge, and make me 
a model of strait-laced propriety ?'' 

"You might, with \ery great advantage to 
yourself, take a little cuimnun-seuso in hand. 
Of course, Hugh, y ou are your own master, but 
it frequently pains me to see ) ou throwing 
away your lile and privileges so recklessly. 
You might do a vast amount of good with 
your money, if you felt disposed to employ it 
benevolently and judiciously." 

'• Well, whose lault is it ? I offered to 
make you my banker, and let you dispense 
charities for both of us, ami \uu snatched 
back your dainty fingers in haughty refusal. 
If 1 play Prodigal io the end oi the chapter, 
you are responsible ior it." 

" Begging your pardon, sir, : I am no scape- 
goat fur any of jour shortcomings. Shoulder 
your own peccadilloes, if jou p!ea.-c. But 
here comes your coffee. Put the waiter on 



110 



MACARIA. 



the table, John, and tell Andrew to take Mass' 
Hugh's buggy." 

'" Do nothing of the kind ! but send some- 
body to open that everlasting gate, which 
would not have disgraced ancient Thebes. 
Are you classical, John ? Be off", and see 
about it; I must start in five minutes." 

"Hugh, be reasonable for once in your life ; 
you are not in a proper condition to drive 
that horse. For my sake, at least, be persuad- 
ed to wait tilt morning. Will you not remain, 
to oblige me ?" 

" Oh, hang my condition ! I tell you I must 
and I will go, if all the stars fall and judg- 
ment-day overtakes me on the road. What 
splendid coffee you always have ! The most 
fastidious of bashaws could not find it in his 
Moorish heart to complain." 

He put on his hat, buttoned his costly fur 
coat, and, flourishing his whip, came close to 
his cousin. 

" Good- by, Beauty. I hate to leave you ; upon 
my word 1 do ; but duty before pleasure, my 
heavenly-eyed monitress. I have not had my 
Christmas present yet, and have it I will." 

" On one condition, Hugh : that you drive 
cautiously and moderately, instead of thun- 
dering down hills and over bridges like some 
express-train behind time. Will you promise ?" 

" To be sure I will ! everything in the 
world ; and am ready to swear it, if you are 
sceptical." 

"■ Well then, good-by, Hugh, and take care 
of yourself." 

She allowed him to press his hot lips to hers, 
and, accompanying him to the door, saw him 
jump into the frail open-topped buggy. Wild- 
fire plunged and sprang off in his usual style, 
and, with a crack of the whip and wave of his 
hat, Hugh was fairly started. 

Sewn hours later Irene sat alone at the 
library table, absorbed in writing an article on 
Laplace's Nebular Theory for the scientific 
journal to which she occasionally contributed 
over the signature of " Sabsean." Several 
books, with close " marginalias," were scattered 
around, and the '• MeVanique Celeste" and a 
volume of " Cosmos" lay open before her. The 
servants had gone to rest ; the house was 
very still, the silence unbroken save by the 
moan of the wind and the melancholy tapping 
of the poplar branches against the outside. 
The sky was black, gloomy as Malbolge ; and, 
instead of a hard, pattering rain, a fine, cold 
mist drizzled noiselessly down the panes. 
Wrapped in her work, Irene wrote on rapidly 
till the clock struck twelve. She counted the 
strokes, saw that there remained but one page 
uncopied, and concluded to finish the MS. 
At last she affixed her nom deplume, numbered 
the pages, and folded the whole for transmis- 
sion. The fire was still bright ; and, with no 
inclination to go to sleep, she replaced the 
books on their respective shelves, turned up 
the wick of the lamp, and sat down close to the 



grate to warm her stiffened fingers. Gradually 
her thoughts wandered from the completed 
task to other themes of scarcely less interest. 
The week previous she had accompanied 
Hugh to an operatic concert given by the 
Parodi troupe, and had been astonished to 
find Russell seated on the bench in front of 
her. He so rarely showed himself on such 
occasions, that his appearance eiicited some 
commeift. They had met frequently since the 
evening at Mr. Mitchell's, but he pertinaciously 
avoided recognizing her; and, on this par- 
ticular night, though he came during an inter- 
lude to speak to Grace Harris, who sat on the 
same row of seats with Irene, he never once 
directed his eyes toward the latter. This 
studied neglect, she felt assured, was not the 
result of the bitter animosity existing between 
her father and himself; and though it puzzled 
her for a while, she began finally to suspect 
the true nature of his feelings, and, with wom- 
an's rarely- erring instincts, laid her finger on 
the real motive which prompted him. The 
report of his engagement to Grace had reached 
her some days before, and now it recurred to 
her mind like a haunting spectre. She did 
not believe for an instant that he was attached 
to the pretty, joyous girl whom rumor gave 
him ; but she was well aware ' that he was am- 
bitious of high social position, anil feared that 
he might, possibly, from selfish, ignoble reasons, 
seek an alliance with Judge Harris' only 
daughter, knowing that the family was one of 
the wealthiest and most aristocralic in the 
state. She recollected, with unutterable scorn, 
the frequent sneers at his blind mother, in 
which Grace, Charlie,- and even Mrs. Harris 
had indulged in the season ot trial and adver- 
sity ; and, pondering all that she had silently 
endured because of her sympathy with him 
and his mother, a feeling of bitterness, hereto- 
fore unknown, rose in her heart. True, im- 
passable barriers divided them ; but she could 
not endure the thought of .Jjis wedding anoth- 
er — it tortured her beyond all expression. 
With ( a suffocating sensation s"he un fastened 
the cameo-pin that held her robe de cliambre at 
the throat, and threw back the collar. Tak- 
ing out her comb, she - shook down her hair, 
gathered it up in her hands, and tossed it over 
the back of her chair, whence it fell to the 
floor, coiling there in glittering rings. Life 
had seemed dreary enough before ; out, with 
this apprehension added, it appeared insup- 
portable, and she was conscious of a degree ot 
wretchedness never dreamed of or realized 
heretofore. Not even a sigh escaped her ; she 
was one of a few women who permit no ex- 
ternal evidences of suffering, but lock it se- 
curely in their own proud hearts, and in si- 
lence and loneliness go down into the " ghoul- 
haunted," darkened chambers to brood over 
it, as did the Portuguese monarch the moul- 
dering remains of his murdered wife. The 
painful reverie might, perhaps, have lasted till 



MACARIA. 



Ill 



the pallid dawn looked in with tearful eyes at 
the window, but Paragon, who was sleeping on 
the rug at her feet, started up and growled. 
She raised her head and listened, but only the 
ticking of the clock was audible, and the 
•wailing of the wind through the leafless pop- 
lars. 

" Down, Paragon ! hqsb, sir !" 

She patted his head soothingly, and he sank 
back a lew seconds in quiet, then sprang up 
with a loud bark. This time she heard an 
indistinct sound of steps in the hall, and 
thought : " Nellie sees my light through the 
window, and is coming to coax me up stairs." 
Something stumbled near the threshold, a 
hand struck the knob as if in hunting for it, 
the door opened softly, and, muffled in his 
heavy cloak, holding his hat in one hand, Rus- 
sell Aubrey stood in the room. Neither spoke, 
but he looked at her with such mournful ear- 
nestness, such eager yet grieved compassion, 
that she read some terrible disaster in his eyes. 
The years of estrangement, all that had passed 
since their childhood, was forgotten ; studied 
conventionalities fell awiy at sight of him 
standing there, for' the first time, in her home. 
She crossed the room with a quick, Uncertain 
step, and put. out her hands toward him — 
vague, horrible apprehension blanching the 
beautiful lips, which asked shiveringly : 

" What is it, Russell V what is it'?" 

He took the coid little hands tremblingly in 
his, and endeavored to draw her back to the 
hearth, but she repeated : 

" What has happened ? Is it Fdther, or 
Hugh V 

" Your fathDr is well, I believe ; I passed 
him on the road yesterday. Sit down, Miss 
Huntingdon ; you look pale and faint." 

Her ringers closed tightly over his ; he saw 
an ashen hue settle on her face, find, in an un- 
naturally calm, low tone, she asked : 

" Is Hugh dead ? Oh, my God ! why don't 
you speak, Russell '?" 

" He did. not suffer much ; his death was 
too sudUeu." 

Her face had such a stony look that he 
would have passed his arm around her, but 
could not disengage his hand ; she seemed to 
cling to it as if lor strength. 

" Won't you let me carry you to your room, 
or call a servant V You are not able to 
stand." 

She neither heeded nor heard him. 

" JVats it that horse ; or how was it ?" 

" One of the bridges had been swept away 
by the freshet, and, in trying to cross, he miss- 
ed the ford. The horse must have be«n fright- 
ened and unmanageable, the buggy was over- 
turned in the creek, and your cousin, stunned 
by the .fall, drowned instantly ; life was just 
extinct when 1 reached him." 

Something like a moan escaped her as she 
listened. 

" Was anything done ?" 



" We tried every means of resuscitation, 
but they were entirely ineffectual." 

She relaxed her clasp . of his fingers and 
moved toward the door. 

" Where are you going, Miss Huntingdon ? 
Indeed you must sit down." 

" Russell, you have brought him home ; 
where is he ?" 

Without waiting for an answer, she walked 
down the hall and paused suddenly at sight of 
the still form resting on a gray travelling- 
blanket, with a lantern at his head and an 
elderly man, a stranger, sitting near, keeping 
watch. Russell came to her side, and, draw- 
ing his arm around her, made her lean upon 
him. He felt the long, long lingering shud- 
der which shook the elegant, queenly figure ; 
then she slipped down beside the rigid sleeper 
and smoothed back from the fair brow the 
dripping curling auburn hair. 

" Hugh, my cousin ! my playmate 1 Snatch- 
ed away in an hour from the life you loved so 
well. Ah ! the curse of our house has fallen 
upon you. It is but the beginning of the end. 
Only two of us are left, and we, too, shall soon 
be caught up to join you." 

She kissed the icy lips which a few hours 
before had pressed hers so warmly, and, rising, 
walked up and down the long hall. Russell 
leaned against the wall, with his arms crossed 
over his chest and his head bent low, waiting 
for her to speak again. But, calm and tear- 
less, she walked on and on, in profound si- 
lence, till he grew restless at the strange sound 
of her hair trailing along the oil-cloth, and* 
once more approached her. 
" Are you entirely alone V" 
"Yes, except the -servants. Oh, Russell! 
how am I to break this to my father V He 
loves that boy better than everything else ; in- 
finitely better than be ever loved me. How 
shall 1 tell him that Hugh is dead — dead ?" 

" A messenger has already gone to inform 
him of what has happened, and this distress- 
ing task will not be yours. Herbert Black- 
well and, I were riding together, on our return 

from T , when we reached the ford where 

the disaster occurred. Finding that all our 
efforts to resuscitate were useless, he turned 
back, and went to your father's plantation to 
break the sad intelligence to him." 

His soothing, tender tone touched some 
chord deep in her strange nature, and unshed 
tears gathered for the first time in her eyes. 

" As you have no friend near enough to call 
upon at present, I will, if you desire it, wake 
the servants, remain, and do all .that is neces- 
sary until morning." 

"If you please, Russell; I shall thank you 
very much." 

As her glance fell upon her cousin's gleam- 
ing face her lip fluttered, aniL^he turned away 
and sat down on one of the sofas in the parlor, 
dropping her face in her hands. A little 
while after the light of a candle streamed in, 



112 



MACARIA. 



and Russell came with a cushion from the li- 
brary lounge and his warm cloai. lie wrap- 
ped the latter carefully about the drooping 
form, and would have placed her head on the 
silken pillow, but she silently resisted without 
looking up, and he left her. It was a vigil 
which she never forgot ; the slow hours crush- 
ed her as they rolled, the very atmosphere 
seemed filled with the curse which brooded 
inexorably over the ancient house, and when, 
at last, the eastern sky blanched, and the wan 
forehead of the day lilted itself sadly up, it 
seemed, indeed, as it' — 

" Tht^ dim red morn had died, her jonrnej 1 done. 
Ami vviiii dead lips smiled at the twilight plain, 
IIaU-1'ulfii across the threshold oi' the tun, 
ftever to rioe ayain." 

Shaking off" her covering, Irene passed into 
the greenhouse and broke clusters of jasmine 
and spit) geranium leaves, and, thus engaged, 
her glance fell upaii the dashed camellia petals 
which Hugh hail ruined so recklessly the pre- 
vious evening. They seemed titling symbols, 
as they lay in withering heaps, of the exuber- 
ant lile so suddenly cut short — the gay, throb- 
bing heart so unexpectedly stilled. 

" * * * Life struck sharp on death, 
Makes awful lightning." 

And she felt a keen pang at sight of his cam- 
brie handkerchief, which had been dropped 
unconsciously between two branching fuch- 
sias. As she stooped and picked it up his 
name stared at her, and the soft folds gave out 
the powerful breath of -bergamot, of which he 
was particularly fond. She turned away from 
the weal tli of beauty that mocked her sorrow, 
and walk on to the library. 

The (ire had died But entirely, the curtains 
were drawn back to let in the day, on the li- 
brary-table the startling glare of white linen 
showed the ouilines of the cold young sleeper, 
and Russell slowly paced the floor, his arms 
crossed, as was their habit, and his powerful 
form uiineariedly erect. She stood by the ta- 
ble, half-irresolute, then folded down the sheet 
and exposed the handsome, untroubled face. 
She studied it long and quietly, and with no 
burst of dilution laid her (lowers against his 
cheek and mouth, and scattered the gerani- 
ums over. his puL-eless heart. 

"'I begged liiiu not to start yesterday, and 
he answered that he would go, if the stars fell 
and judgment-day overtook him. Sometimes 
we are prophets unawares. His star has set 
— his day has risen ! Have mercy ou his soul ! 
oh, my God 1" 

Tlie voice was low and even, but wonder- 
fully sweet, and in the solemn morning-light 
her face showed itself gray and bloodless; no 
stain oi' color on the still lips, only the btue 
cord standing out between the brows, sun- 
signet of a deep distress which found no vent. ' 
Russell felt a crushing weight lifted from hi 



heart; he saw that she had "loved her cousin, 
cousinly — no more ;" and his face flushed when 
she looked across the table at him, with grate- 
ful but indescribably melancholy eyes, which 
had never been closed during that night of 
horror. 

11 1 have come to relieve you, Russell, from 
your friendly watch. , Few would have acted 
as ) ou have dope, and for all your generous 
kindness to poor Hugh I thank you most ear- 
nestly, as well for my father as myseif. The 
day may come, perhaps, when I shall be able 
to prove my gratitude and the sincerity of 
my friendship, which has never wavered sinee 
we were children together. Until that day, 
farewell, Russeil ; but believe that I rejoice to 
hear of your successes." 

She held out her hand, and, as he took it in 
his, which trembled violently, he felt, even 
then, that there was no quiver in the icy white 
lingers, and that his name rippled over her 
lips as calmly as that of the dead had done 
ju=t before. She endured his long, searching 
gaze, like any other .Niobe, and he dropped 
the little pearly hand and quitted the room. 
She heard his quick step ring changes down 
the long hall and stony steps, and, when all 
was still again, she knelt beside the table, and 
crossing her arms over it, bowed her face upon 
then). Now and then the servants looked in, 
but crept away awed, closing the door stealthi- 
ly ; and as the day 'advanced, and the news of 
what bad happened (lew through the town, 
friends came to oiler assistance ami condolence. 
But node dared disturb or address the kneel- 
ing figure, veiled by waving hair and giving 
no more sign of life than the form before her. 
At ten o'clock Mr. Huntingdon returned, and, 
with his hat drawn over his e\ es, went straight 
to the library. He kissed the face of the dead 
passionately, luid his sob and violent burst of 
sorrow told his child of his arrival. She 
lilted her rigid face and extended her arms, 
pleadingly. 

'•Father! Father! here, at least, you will 
forgive me i" 

He turned from her sternly, and answered, 
with bitter emphasis: 

"I will not! Rut for you, he would have 
been uillerent, and this would never have 
happened." 

•• Father, I have agked for love and pardon 
for the last time. Perhaps, when you stand 
over my dead body, you may remember that 
you had a child who had a light to yo|fr af- 
fection. God knows, it' it were poasiole, I 
would gladly lay my weary head down to rest, 
here ou Hutu's bier, and "ive him back to 
your arms. Life is not so sweet to me that 
I would not yield it up to-day without a mur- 
mur.'' 

She bent down and kissed her cousin, and, 
with a- hard, bitter expression in her coun- 
tenance, went up to her own room, locking 



MACARIA. 



US 



out Paragon and old Nellie, who followed 
cautiously at her heels. 

'•For the drift of the Maker is dark, an Isib hid by the 
veil. 
Who knows the ways of the world, how God wilt bring 
them al>out.'' 



CHAPTER XXIV 

' Where are you going, Irene V 
' Only to the Factory-row." 
1 For what, I should like to know ?" 
" To see Bessie Davis, who has been v« 



ill.' 

" Fiddle-stick ! I want the carriage myself. 
I promised to send down to the hotel for Judge 
Peterson, who is coming to spend the night 
here." . 

" Of course, Father, if you want Andrew I 
dV> not wish to interfere with your arrange- 
ments. I did not know that you intended to 
use the carriage. John, tell Andrew to drive 
the horses back to the stable-yard until called 
for, and have Erebus saddled at once. Un- 
pack that flat basket I left on the pantry-shelf, 
and put the things into one with a handle, that 
•I can carry in ray hand. The egg-basket will 
do very well ; it has a cover." 

She went to her room, changed her dress for 
her riding-habit, and came down to the front 
door, where her father sat smoking. 

" What are you going to do with that bas- 
ket? Erebus won't suffer you to carry it." 

" Yes, sir ; he will suffer just what I please 
to take. I have a bottle of wine, some jelly, 
and some light bread for poor Mrs. Davis." 

"What sort of wine?" 

" Not your high-j>riced sherry or port, but 
a pint bottle of madeira. Tighten that girth 
for me, Andrew, if you please ; the saddle 
turned the last time I rode." 

" I '11 bet that you will let that basket fall 
before you get to the gate, and lose every drop 
in it. Ic is all nonsense ! sheer nonsense !" 

She made no reply, but mounted the beau- 
tiful spirited animal, who arched bis neck and 
curveted at sight of the basket. Patting his 
mane soothingly, she hung the basket securely 
on the pommel of the saddle and rode off. 

" He is wilder to-day than he was when I 
first bought him ; he will break her neck yet, 
1 have n't a doubt," muttered Mr. Huntingdon, 
looking after her. 

"No he won't, Master; she can tame him 
down any minute. Last week she wanted to 
ride, but he had got out into the creek-pasture 
and I could n't catch him. I raced him for a 
half-hour up and down, and could n't come 
near him ; I tried him with corn and fodder, 
but he ran like a deer. I give it up, sir, and 
told Miss Irene he was in one of his tantrums 
and I could do nothing with him. She just 
put on her hat and walked over to the pasture, 
and the minute he saw her coming he neighed 
8 



two or three times, and, before I could get to 
her, she had her hand on his mane, patting 
him, and he was rubbing his head against bei\ 
Miss Irene can tame anything in this world, 
she has such a steady, conquering look in her 
eyes." 

Such were Andrew's reassuring words, ,ts. 
with his hat on the back of his head and both 
hands thrust, into his deep pockets, he stood 
I watching his young mistress until a turn in the 
I road obscured both horse and rider, then walk- 
ed back to tjr.e stable. 
j It was a cold afternoon in November — 

] And Autumn, laying here and there 

A fiery G^ijerwn the leaves," 

had kindled her forest conflagration. 'Goidf -r. 
maples and amber-lined cherries, crimson dog- 
woods and scarlet oaks shook out their flame- 
foliage and waved their glowing boughs, ait 
dashed and -speckled, flecked and rimmed with 
orange and blood, ghastly green, and tawrsv 
brown. The hectic spot burned everywhere, 
save on the solemn sombre pines that lifte.S 
themselves defiantly far above the fevered re- 
gion of decay. Royal clusters of golden-rod 
were blackened and seared by the lips of as 
early frost, and pallid starry asters shivered 
and dropped their faded petals as the wind 
bowed their fragile^eads. The smoky atmos- 
phere, which had hung all day in purple folds 
around the distant hills, took a golden haze a* 
the sun sank rapidly; and to Irene's gaz« 
river and woodland, hill-side and valley, were 
brimmed with that weird " light which never 
was on sea or land." Her almost " Brahmini - 
eat" love of nature had grown with her years 
but a holier element mingled with her adora- 
tion now ; she looked beyond the material veil 
of beauty, and bowed reverently before the 
indwelling Spiritual Presence. Only duriri" 
these silent hours of communion afforded fat- 
her solitary rides was the shadow lifted front 
her heart, and at such times immemorial Cv- 
bele's fingers, soft and warm, touched the still 
face, and the icy lines melted. Since Huodi's 
death, nearly a year before, she had become, a 
recluse— availing herself of her mournir.g- 
dress to decline all social engagements ; and 
during these months a narrow' path opened; 
before her feet, she became a member of tt-<-. 
church which she. had attended from infanc.v, 
and her hands closed firmly over her life-work! 
The baffling Sphinx that had so long vexed 
her sat no more at the cross-roads of her ex- 
istence ; she found an (Edipus in the far mo?e 
than ca-balietic words : 

" Thy path is plain and straight, that light is given 
Onward in fciitnl and leave the rest to heaven." 

Sorrow and want hung out their sigc* 

among the poor of W , and here, silent,^, 

but methodically, she had become, not a min- 
istering angel certainly, but a generous bene- 
factress, a noble, sympathetic friend— a coun- 
sellor whose strong good sense rendered her 



114 



MACARJA. 



advice and guidance valuable indeed. By a 
system of rigid economy she was enabled to 
set apart a small portion of money, which she 
gave judiciously, superintending its invest- 
ment ; kind, hopeful words she scattered like 
sunshine over every threshold ; and here and 
there, where she detected smouldering aspira- 
tion or incipient appreciation of learning, she 
fanned the spark with some suitable volume 
from her own library, which, in more than one 
instance, became the germ, the spring of " a 
joy for ever." Frequently her father threw 
obstacles in her way, sneering all the while at 
her " sanctimonious freaks." Sometimes she 
affected not to notice the impediments, some- 
times frankly acknowledged their magnitude, 
and climbed right over them, on to her work. 
Among the factory operatives she found the 
greatest need of ameliorating touches of every 
kind. Improvident, illiterate, in some cases 
almost brutalized, she occasionally found her- 
self puzzled as to the proper plan to pursue ; 
but her womanly heart, like the hidden jew- 
elled levers of a watch, guided the womanly 
hands unerringly. 

This evening, as she approached the row of 
low whitewashed houses, a crowd of children 
swarmed out, as usual, to stare at her. She 
rede up to a door-step, where a boy of some 
fourteen years sat sunning himself, with an 
open book on his knee and a pair of crutches 
beside him. At sight of her a bright smile 
broke over his sickly face, and he tried to 
rise. 

" Good-evening, Philip ; don't get up. How 
are you to-day ?" 

" Better, I thank you, ma'm ; but very stiff 
yet." 

" The stiffness will pass off gradually, I 
hope. I see you have not finished your book 
yet ; how do you like it ?" 
' " Oh ! I could bear to be a cripple always, 
if I had "plenty like it to read." 

" You need not be a cripple ; but there are 
plenty more, just as good and better, which 
you shall have in time. Do you think' you 
could hold my horse for me a little while ? I 
can't find a suitable place to tie him. He is 
gentle enough if you will only hold the reins." 

" Certainly, ma'm ; I shall be glad to hold 
him as long as you like." 

She dismounted, and, taking her basket, 
placed the bridle in the boy's hand, saying en- 
couragingly, as Erebus put up his ears and 
looked vicious : 

" Don't be afraid of him. Speak to him 
quietly if he gets restless, and if you can't 
keep him in order, call me ; I am going in next 
ioor." 

He smiled assent, wrapped the bridle round 
his wrist, and returned eagerly to his treasure, 
Simms' " Life of Nathaniel Greene," while 
Irene passed into the adjoining house. Some 
sick-rooms are inviting, from the costly display 
of marble, rosewood, velvet, aud silver ; from 



the tasteful arrangement of books and flowers ; 
from the air of delicacy and affectionate con- 
sideration which pervades them. But those 
where poverty stands grim and gaunt on the 
hearth are rarely enticing, and to this dreary 
class belonged the room where Bessie Davis 
had suffered for months, watching the sands of 
life run low and the shadow of death growing 
longer across the threshold day by day. The 
dust and lint of the cotton-room had choked 
the springs of life, and on her hollow cheeks 
glowed the autograph of consumption. She 
stretched out her wasted hand and said : 

" Ah, Miss Irene ! I heard your voice out- 
side, and it was pleasant to my ears as the 
sound of the bell when work-hours are over. 
I am always glad to see your face, but this 
evening I was longing fqr you, hoping and 
praying that you would come. I am in trouble." 

" About what, Mrs. Davis ? Nothing seri- 
ous, I hope ; tell me." 

" I don't know how serious it is going to be. 
Johnnie is sick in the next room, taken yes- 
terday ; and, about noon to-day, Susan had to 
knock off work and come home. Hester is the 
only one left, and you know she is but a baby 
to work. I don't like to complain of my lot, 
God knows,- but it seems hard if we are all to 
be taken down." 

" I hope they will not be sick long. What 
is the matter with Johnnie V" 

" Dear knows ! I am sure I don't ; he com- 
plains of the headache and has fever, and 
Susan here seems ailing the same way. She 
is as stupid as can be — -sleeps all the time. My 
children have had measles and whooping- 
cough and chicken-pox and scarlet-fever, and 
I can't imagine what they are trying to catch 
now. I hear that there is a deal of sickness 
showing itself in the Row." 

" Have you sent for the doctor ?" asked 
Irene, walking around to the other side of the 
bed and examining Susan's pulse. 

" Yes, I sent Hester ; but she said he told 
her he was too busy to come." 

" Why did you not apply to some other 
physician V" ' 

" Because Dr. Brandon has always attended 
me, and, as I sent for him first, I did n't know 
whether any other doctor would like to come. 
You know some of them have very curious 
notions about their dignity." 

" And sometimes, while they pause to dis- 
cuss etiquette, humanity suffers. Susan, let 
me see your tongue. Who else is sick in the 
Row, Mrs. Davis '?" 

" Three of Tom Brown's children, two of 
Dick Spencer's, and Lucy Hall, and Mary 
Moorhead. Miss Irene, will you be good 
enough to give me a drink of water ? Hester 
has gone to try to find some wood, and I can't 
reach the pitcher." 

" I brought you some jelly ; would you like 
a little now, or shall 1 put it away in the 
closet ?" 



MACARIA. 



115 



" Thank you ; I will save it for my Johnnie, 
he is so fond of sweet things ; and, poor child ! 
he sees 'em so seldom now-a-days." 

" ; There is enough for you and Johnnie too. 
Eft this, while I look after him and see 
whether he ought to have any this evening." 

She placed a saucer filled with the tempt- 
ing amber-hued delicacy on the little pine 
table beside the bed and went into the next 
room. The boy, who looked about seven or 
eight years old, lay on a pallet in one corner, 
restless and fretful, his cheeks burning and his 
large brown eyes sparkling with fever. 

" Johnnie, boy ! what is the matter ? Tell 
me what hurts you ?" 

" My head aches so badly," and tears came 
to the beautiful childish eyes. 

" It feels hot. Would you like .to have it 
bathed in cold water ?" 

" If you please, ma'm. I have been calling 
Hettie, and she won't hear." 

" Because she has gone out. Let me see if 
I can't do it just as well as Hettie." 

She hunted about the room for a cloth, but, 
finding nothing suitable, took her cambric 
handkerchief, and, after laving his forehead 
gently for ten or fifteen minutes, laid the wet 
folds upon it, and asked, smilingly : 

" Does n't that feel pleasant V" 

" Ever so nice, ma'm — if I had some to 
drink." 

She put the dripping gourd to his parched 
lips, and, after shaking up his pillow and 
straightening the covering of his pallet, she 
promised to see him again soon, and returned 
to his mother. 

" How does he appear to be, Miss Irene ? 
I had him moved out of this room because he 
said my coughing hurt his head, and his con- 
tinual fretting worried me. I am so weak 
now, God help me !" and she covered her eyes 
with one hand. 

" He has some fever, Mrs. Davis, but not 
more than Susan. I will ask Dr. Arnold to 
come and see them this evening. This change 
in the weather is very well calculated to make 
sickness. Are you entirely out of wood ?" 

" Very nearly, ma'm — a few sticks left." 

" When Hester comes keep her at home. 
I will send you some wood. And now, how 
are you ?" 

" My cough is not quite so bad ; the pectoral 
holds it a little in check ; but I had another 
hemorrhage last night, and I am growing 
weaker every day. Oh, Miss Irene ! what 
will become of my poor little children when I 
am gone V That is such an agonizing thought." 
She sobbed as she spoke. 

" Do not let that grieve you now. I promise 
you that your children shall be taken care of. 
I will send a servant down to stay here to- 
night, and perhaps some of the women in the 
Row will be willing to come in occasionally 
and help Hester tiff Susan gets able to cook. 
I left two loaves of bread in the closet, and 



will send more in the morning, which Hester 
can toast. I shall go by town and send Dr. 
Arnold out." 

" I would rather have Dr. Brandon, if you 
please." * 

" Why ?" 

" I have always beard that Dr. Arnold was 
so gruff and unfeeling that I am afraid of him. 
I hate to be snapped up when I ask a ques- 
tion." 

" That is a great mistake, Mrs Davis. Peo- 
ple do him injustice. He has one of the kind- 
est, warmest hearts I ever knew, though some- 
times he is rather abrupt in his manner. If 
you prefer it, however, I will see your doctor. 
Good-by ; I will come again to-morrow." 

As she took her bridle from Philip's hand 
the boy looked up at her with an expression 
bordering on adoration. 

" Thank you, Philip ; how did he behave ?" 

" Not very well ; but he is beautiful enough 
to make up for his wildness." 

" That is bad doctrine ; beauty never should 
excuse bad behavior. Is your mother at 
home ?" 

"■ No, ma'm." 

" When she comes, ask her I say please to 
step in now and then and overlook things for 
Mrs. Davis ; Sasan is sick. Philip, if it is not 
asking too much of you, Johnnie would like 
for you to sit by him till his little sister comes 
home, and wet that cloth which I left on his 
head. Will you ?" 

"Indeed I will; I am very glad you told 
me. Certainly I will." 

" I thought so. Don't talk to him ; let him 
sleep if he will. Good-by." 

She went first to a wood-yard on the river 
and left an order for a cord of wood to be sent 
immediately to No. 13, Factory-row ; then took 
the street leading to Dr. Brandon's office. A 
servant sat on the step whistling merrily, and, 
in answer to her question, he informed her 
that his master had just left town, to be absent 
two days. She rode oh for a few squares, 
doubling her veil in the hope of shrouding her 
features, and stopped once more in front of 
the door where stood Dr. Arnold's buggy." 

" Cyrus, is the doctor in his office ?" 

" Yes, Miss Irene." 

" Hold my horse. for me." 

She gathered the folds of her riding-habit 
over her arm and went up stairs. Leaning 
far back in his chair, with his feet on the 
fender of the grate, sat Dr. Arnold, watching 
the blue smoke of his meerschaum curl lazily 
in faint wreaths over his head ; and, as she en- 
tered, a look of pleasant surprise came instant- 
ly into his cold, clear eyes. 

" Bless me ! Irene, I am glad to see you. It 
is many a day since you have shown your face 
here ; sit down. Now, then, what is to pay ? 
You are in trouble, of course ; you never think 
of me except when, you are. Has old Nellie 
treated herself to another spell of rheumatism, 



116 



HACARIA. 



or Paragon broke his leg, or small-pox broke 
out anywhere; or, worse than all, have the 
hawks taken to catching your pigeons ?" 

" None of these catastrophes has overtaken 
me ; but I come, as usual, to ask a favor. If 
you please, I want you to go up to the Factory- 
row this evening. Mrs. Davis, No. 13, has two 
children very sick, I am afraid. I don't like 
the appearance of their tongues." 

*' Humph ! what do you, know about tongues, 
I should like to be informed?" 

" How to use my own, sir, at least, when 
there is a necessity for it. They are what you 
medical savans call typhoid tongues; and from 
what I heard to day, I am afraid there will be 
a distressing amount of sickness among the 
operatives. Of course you will go, sir ?" 

u How do you know that so well ? Perhaps 
I will, and perhaps I won't. Nobody ever 
looks after me, or cares about the condition of 
my health; I don't see why I must adopt the 
wnole human race. See here, my child ! do 
not let me bear of you at the Row again soon ; 
it is no place for you, my lily. Ten to one it 
is some low, miserable typhus fever showing 
itself, and I will take icare of youF precious 
pets only on condition that you keep away, so 
that I shall not be haunted with the dread of 
having you, also, on my hands. If I lay eyes 
on you at the Row, 1 swear I will write to 
Leonard to chain you up at home. Do you 
hear ?" 

" I shall come every day, I 
that," ' 

" Oh ! you are ambitious of martyrdom ! But j 
typhus- fever is not the style. Queen. There is ! 
neither eclat nor glory in such a death." 

A sad smile curved her mouth as she an- 
swered slowly : 

" Indeed you wrong me, Doctor. I am not 
ready to die ; I am not fit for eternity ; my 
"?ork has but begun." 

" Why do you think so, my dear child ? 
What sin have you ever committed '?" 

<v Sins of omission, sir, foot up as heavily as 
those of commission." 

" Don't tread upon my Antinomianistic toes, 
if you please ! they are tender. Wherein 
have you failed to do your-duty ?" 

" God and my own soul only sit in assize 
upon my derelictions." 

" Irene, I have watched you for years with 
hungry, eager eyes; and of late I have follow- 
ed you in your rounds among the poor. You 
are inaugurating a new system ; the fashion is, 
to organize societies, flame in print as officer, 
president, treasurer, as the case may be, and 
placard the members and purposes of the or- 
organization. Left hand industriously puffs 
what, right, hand doeth. Is it not so V One 
of your own sex, the greatest, strongest, no- 
blest of your learned women-singers, pithily 
.tells you r 

' T'isre '8 too much afcstraot willing, purposing, 
!.u Uaie poor world. We talk by aggregates, 



promise you 



And think by systems. . . If we pray at all, 

We pray no longer (or our daily bread, 

But next centenary's harvests. If we give, 

Our cup of waler is not tendered till 

We lay down pipes aud found a company ' 

With branches. A woman can not do the tiling she ought, 

Which means whatever perfect thing she can, 

In life, in art, in science, but she fears 

To let the perfuct action take her part 

And reit. there; she must prove what she can do 

Before she does it — prate of woman's rights, 

Of woman's mission, woman's function, til! 

The men (who are prating, too, on their aide) cry — 

' A woman's function plainly is — to talk. 

Poor souls, thoy are very reasonably vexed ! 

They can not hear each other speak.' " 

" I tell you, Queen, I have watched these 
associations -all my life : I am getting old now, 
and I am as completely nauseated with their 
cant and pharisecism as Macaulay was with 
that of the seventeenth century Puritans. Self- 
glorification has a deal' of influence over our 
modern Dorcases." 

" I think, sir, that you are unjust in some 
instances; your cynical lenses distort the 
facts. Judiciously-conducted charitable so- 
cieties greatly facilitate matters, by system- 
atizing the work and inducing punctuality. " I 
grant that the evils you speak of are much to 
be deprecated ; and, to complete your own 
lengthy quotation : 

'• I 'd whisper— Soft, my sister! not a word! 
By speaking we prove only we can speak : 
Which he, the man here, never doubted. What 
He doubts is, whether we can do the thing 
With decent grace we 've not yet done at all : 
Now do it I" 

" Doctor, I wish you were more of an op- 
timist." 

He took one of her hands, spread out the 
ivory fingers on his broad palm, and said, in a 
lower tone : 

" My Chaldean priestess, who says that I am 
not as orthodox on optimism as Leibnitz him- 
self? Don't you know that I am a sort of 
latter-day troglodyte, very rarely airing my 
pet creeds for the benefit of the public ? That 
was a wise law of Solon's which declared 
' every man infamous who, in seditious or civil 
dissensions of the state, remained neuter, and 
refused to side with either party ;' but I do not 
regard it as expedient or incumbent upon me 
to advertise my individual status on all ethical 
schisms. What is it to the public whether I 
endorse ' Candide or Leibnitz's 4 Theodi- 
cea V" " 

" One thing I certainly do know, with great 
regret, that your seeming austerity, your 
roughness of manner, renders you very un- 
popular ; whereas you should be universally 
beloved." 

" Really ! have I become a bugbear in mv 
old age ?" 

" Not that exactly, sir ; but I wish, if it were 
possible, that you would not mask your really- 
kind, generous, sympathizing heart by such 
repellent, abrupt conduct in sick-rooms, where 
people expect gentleness and consideration on 
the part of a physician. I know you are often 



MACARIA. 



117 



annoyed by senseles3 and ridiculous questions ; 
but I wish, for your own sake, that you could 
be a little more patient* with poor, weak 
human nature." 

" Child, I am not gregarious ; never was. I 
touch my ha.t to the world, and it is welcome 
to think just what it chooses of me." 

" No, sir ; far from touching your hat, you 
stand aloof, scowling at your race, smiling 
grimly at the struggling, drowning men and 
women around you, as if we were not all one 
great family, designed by God to assist and 
cheer each other. E\ ery man — " 

" Pardon me, Queen ; but I am not one of 
those deluded, self-complacent human beings 
who actually lay the ' flattering unction ' to 
their souls that they were sent into this world 
for some particular purpose — some special mis- 
sion. I want you distinctly to understand, 
child, that I don't consider myself appointed 
to any work but that of attending to my own 
affairs and taking care of myself." 

" Then you admit yourself a marred, imper- ■ 
feet block, rejected by the Divine Architect as 
unworthy of a place in the grand social tem- 
ple. God clothed you with human affections 
and sympathies that, in accordance with the 
fundamental law of social existence, you might 
extend a helping hand to your fellow-creat- 
ures." 

He moved restlessly, and his gray shaggy 
brows met in a heavy frown. i 

" I believe, Irene, I am entirely innocent of 
any agrarian or socialistic tendency." 

"And so, I trust, am I. But, sir, because I 
abhor Brook -Farm I will not take refuge in 
the cave of Trophonius." 

He looked up at her with one of his steely, 
probing glances, then the b.ows unbent, and 
he drew her hand caressingly across his cheek. 

" Well, child, we won't quarrel over my 
bearishness. If you will keep that hard, frozen 
look away from your lips, and smile now and 
then as you used to do in your childhood 
when I held you on my knee, I will promise to 
try and unearth myself, to seal up my gn'ome 
habitation, and buy me a tub which I can 
drag after me into the sunlight. Is it a 
bargain ?" 

" That is problematical, Doctor. But it is 
getting, late, and I wish, if you please, you 
would go at once to the How." 

" Stop ! if any good is accomplished among 
those semi-savages up yonder, who is to have 
the credit ? Tell me that." 

" God shall have the thanks ; you all the 
credit as the worthy instrument, and I as 
much of the gratification as I can steal from 
you. Are you satisfied with your wages, my 
honored Shylock ? Good-night." 

" Humph ! it is strange what a hold that 
queer, motherless child took upon my heart in 
her babyhood, and tightens as she grows older. 

' That souls ace dangerous things to carry straight 
Through all the spilt saltpetre of the world ' 



who will question V Not I, surely ; and yet I 
know that girl will take hers safely to the 
terminus of time, pure, with no smut or smell 
of gunpowder. A pearl before swine ! But, I 
swear, untrampled to the end." 

He shook the ashes from his pipe, put it 
away behind the clock, and went down to his 
buggy. Before breakfast the following morn- 
ing, while Irene was in the poultry-yard feed- 
ing her chickens and pigeons, pheasants and 
peafowls, she received a note from Dr. Arnold 
containing these few scrawling words : 

" If you do not feel quite ready for the day 
of judgment, avoid the Row as you would the 
plagues of Egypt. I found no less than six 
developed cases of rank typhus. 
" Yours, 

" Hiram Arnold." 

She put the note in her pocket, and, while 
the pigeons fluttered and perched on 'her 
shoulders and arms, cooing and pecking at her 
fingers, she stood musing — calculating the 
chances of contagion and death if she persist- 
ed. Raising her eyes to the calm blue sky, the 
perplexed look passed from her countenance, 
and, fully decided regarding her course, she 
went in to breakfast. Mr. Huntingdon was 
going to a neighboring county with Judge 
Peterson, to transact some business connected 
with Hugh's estate, and, as the buggy came to 
the door, he asked carelessly: 

" What did Cyrus want '/" 

" He came to bring me a note from the 
doctor, concerning some sick people whom I 
asked him to see." 

"Oh — ! John, put my overcoat in the 
buggy. Come, Judge, I am ready." 

As he made no inquiry about the sick she 
volunteered no explanation, and he bade her 
good-by with manifest cold indifference. She 
could not avoid congratulating herself that, 
since he must take this journey soon, he had 
selected the present occasion to be absent, 
for she was well aware that he would violently 
oppose her wishes in the matter of the Row. 
When Dr. Arnold met her, late in the after- 
noon of the same day, at little Johnnie's side, 
his surprise and chagrin found vent, first in a 
series of oaths, then, scowling at her like some 
thunder-cloud with the electricity expended, 
he said : 

" Do you consider me a stark idiot, or a 
shallow quack ?" 

" Neither, sir, I assure you." 

" Then, if I know anything about my busi- 
ness, I wrote you the truth this morning, and 
you treat my advice with cool contempt. You 
vex me beyond all endurance ! Do you want 
to throw yourself into the jaws of Death?" 

" No, sir ; far from it ; "but I had incurred 
the risk before I w*is aware that there was 
any. Besides, I really do not think I shall take 
the fever. I believe a good resolution is a 



118 



MACAEJA. 



powerful preventive, and that, you know, I 
have." 

" The deuce you have ! you obstinate, un- 
governable piece of marble ! Look here, 
Irene, I shall go straight to your father and let 
him know the facts. It is my duty, and I mean 
to do it." 

"I don't think you will, for he started to 
B county this morning. And now, Doc- 
tor, you may just as well quit scolding me, for 
I have made up my mind to nurse Johnnie, 
come what will.", 

" Yes ! I will warrant you have ! and you 
may as well go make up your shroud, too — for 
you will want it, I am thinking." 

" Well, my life, at least, is my own, even if 
it should prove the price." 

". Oh ! is it, indeed V What has become of 
that pretty doctrine you preached to me 
yesterday ? I thought you belonged to the 
whole human fraternity V Your life yours, 
indeed 1" 

" You forget, Doctor ; ' greater love hath no 
man than this, that he lay down his life for his 
friends.' " 

She slipped her hand into his and looked up, 
smiling and calm, into his harsh, s?/arthy face. 

" My child, you made a mistake ; your life 
belongs to me, for I saved it in your infancy. 
I cradled you in my arms, lest Death should 
snatch you. I have a better right to you than 
anybody else in this world. 1 don't want to 
see you die ; I wish to go first." 

" I know what I owe you, Doctor ; but lam 
not going to die, and you have scolded me 
enough for one time. Do make peace." 

" Remember, I warned you, and you would 
not heed." 

From that hour she kept faithful vigil in No. 
13 — passing continually from one bedside to 
another. Susan's attack proved comparative- 
ly light, and she was soon pronounced conva- 
lescent ; but little Johnnie was desperately ill, 
and for several nights Irene sat at his pillow, 
fearing ' that every hour would be his last- 
While his delirium was at its height Hester 
was taken violently, and on the morning when 
Irene felt that her labor was not in vain and 
that the boy would get well, his little sister, 
whom she had nursed quite as assiduously, 
grew rapidly worse, and died at noon. As is 
frequently observed in such diseases', this 
increased in virulence with every new case. 
It spread with astonishing celerity through 
the Row, baffling the efforts of the best physi- 
cians in W ; and finally, the day after 

Hester's death, as Irene sat trying to comfort 
the poor mother, a neighbor came in, exclaim- 
ing : 

" Oh, Miss Irene ! Philip Martin is down, 
too. He caught the fever from his mother, and 
his father says won't you please come over." 

She went promptly, though so wearied she 
could scarcely stand, and took a seat by the 
bed where tossed the poor boy in whom she 



had taken such an interest since the accident 
which crushed his leg in the machinery and 
rendered him a temporary cripple. 

" He has been talking about you constantly, 
Miss Irene, and calling for you. , Philip, my 
son, here is Miss Irene." 

He smiled and turned, but there was no 
recognition in the hot eyes, and after an in- 
stant he muttered on incoherently. 

" You must go home, Miss Huntingdon ; 
you are worn-out. His father can watch him 
till his mother gets stronger," said Dr. Bran- 
don, who was fully acquainted with her unre- 
mitting attendance at the next house. 

" No, I must stay with Philip ; perhaps he 
will know me when he wakes." 

A hope doomed to disappointment, for he 
raved for four days and nights, calling fran- 
tically for the serene, sad woman who sat 
at his pillow, bending over him and laying her 
cold hand on his scorched brow. On the fifth 
day, being free from fever and utterly pros- 
trated, he seemed sinking rapidly ; but she 
kept her fingers on his pulse, and, without 
waiting for the doctor's advice, administered 
powerful stimulants. So passed two hours of 
painful anxiety ; then Philip opened his eyes 
languidly, and looked at her. 

" Philip, do you know me ?" 

" Yes — Miss Irene." 

She sank back as if some strong supporting 
hand had suddenly been withdrawn from her; 
and, observing that she looked ghastly, Mr. 
Martin hastily brought her a glass of water. 
Just then Dr. Brandon entered, and examined 
•his patient with evident surprise. 

" What have you done to him, Miss Hun- 
tingdon ?" 

l> Since daylight I have been giving him 
ammonia and brandy ; his pulse was so feeble 
and thready I thought he needed it, and I was 
afraid to wait for you.'' 

" Right ! and you saved his life by it. I 
could not get here any earlier, and if you had 
delayed it until I came it would probably 
have been too late. You may call him your 
patient after this." 

She waited no longer, but staggered to the 
door ; and Andrew, seeing how faint she was, 
came to meet her and led her to the carriage. 
The ten days of watching has told upon her ; 
and when she reached home and Nellie brought 
her wrapper and unlaced her shoes, she fell 
back on her lounge in a heavy, death-like 
sleep. Mr. Huntingdon had been expected 
two days before, but failed to arrive at the 
time designated ; and, having her fears fully 
aroused, Nellie despatched a messenger for 
Dr. Arnold. 



CHAPTER XXV 

" Do you see any change, Hiram ?" 
" None for the better." 



MACAEIA. 



119 



Mr. Huntingdon dropped bis head on his 
hand again, and Dr. Arnold resumed his slow 
walk up and down the carpet. The blue 
damask curtains had been looped back from 
the western window, and the broad band of 
yellow belting in the sky threw a mellow light 
over the bed where lay the unconscious heiress 
of the grand old Hill. Fever rouged the polish- 
ed cheeks usually pure as alabaster, and touc hed 
the parted lips with deeper scarlet, lending a" 
brilliant and almost unearthly beauty to the 
sculptured features. Her hair, partially escap- 
ing from confinement, straggled in crumpled 
rings and folds across the pillow, a mass of 
golden netting ; and the sparkling eyes wan- 
dered from one object to another as if in 
anxious search. The disease had assumed a 
different type, and, instead of raving paroxysms, 
her illness was characterized by a silent, wake- 
ful unconsciousness, while opiates produced 
only the effect of increasing her restlessness. 
A week had passed thus — during which time 
she had recognized no one, and though nu- 
merous lady friends came to offer assistance, 
all were refused permission to see her. Mr. 
'Huntingdon was utterly ignorant of the duties 
of a nurse ; and though he haunted the room 
like an unlifting shadow, Dr. Arnold and Nel- 
lie took entire charge of the patient. The 
former was unremitting in his care, sitting be- 
side the pillow through the long winter nights, 
and snatching a few hours sleep during the 
day. Watching her now, as he walked to and 
fro, be noticed that her eyes followed him 
earnestly, and he paused at the bedside and 
leaned over her. 

" Irene, what do you want ? Does my 
walking annoy you ?" 

No answer. 

" Won't you shut your eyes, my darling, 
and try to go to sleep ?" 

The deep brilliant eyes only looked into 
his with mocking intentness. He put his 
fingers on the lids and pressed them gently 
down, but she struggled, and turned away her 
face. Her hands crept constantly along the 
snowy quilt as if seeking for something, and 
taking them both he folded them in his and 
pressed them to his lips, while tears, which he 
did not attempt to restrain, fell over them. 

" You don't think she is any worse, do you ?" 
asked the father, huskily. 

" I don't know anything, except that she 
can't lay this way much longer." 

His harsh voice faltered and his stern mouth 
trembled. He laid the hands back, went to 
the window, and stood there till the room grew 
dusky r and the lamp was brought in. As 
Nellie closed the door after her the doctor 
came to the hearth and said, sharply : 

" I would not be in your place for John Ja- 
cob Astor's fortune." 

" What do you mean by that V" 

" I mean that, if you have any conscience 
left, you must suffer the pains of purgatory for 



the manner in which you have persecuted that 
child." 

" In all that I have ever done I have looked 
only to her good — to her ultimate happiness. 
I know that she — " 

" Hush, Leonard ! hush ! You know very 
well that you have been down on your knees 
before the Golden Calf ever since that girl 
opened her eyes in this plagued world of 
trouble ! You are no, more fit to be a father 
than I am to be a sainl'l You have tyrannized 
and fretted her poor innocent soul nearly out 
of her ever since she was big enough to crawl. 
Why the d — 1 could not you let the child 
have a little peace ? I told you how it would 
end ; but oh, no ! you could see nothing but 
the gilt face of your bellowing god ! You 
tormented her so about Hugh that anybody 
else would have hated the poor fellow. Mind 
you, she never opened her lips to me with 
reference to that matter in her life ; she would 
have been gibbeted first. But I am not blind 
entirely ; I knew what was going on ; I knew 
that the proud, sensitive bird was hunted 
and could find no spot to rest upon. There 
are ninety-nine chances to one that she has 
come to her rest at last. You will feel pleas- 
antly when you see her in her shroud." 

His hard face worked painfully, and tears 
glided down the wrinkled cheek and hid 
themselves in his gray beard. Mr. Hunting- 
don was much agitated, but an angry flush 
crossed his brow as he answered, hastily : 

" I am the best judge of my family matters. 
You are unjust and severe. Of course, I love 
my child better than anybody else." 

" Heaven preserve her from such love as 
you have lavished on her ! She is very dear 
to me. I understand her character ; you 
either can not Or will not. She is the only 
thing in this world that I do really love. I 
have fondled her from the time when she was 
a week old, and it hurts me to see her suffer 
as she has done ever since you posted her off 
•among strangers in New York. It will go 
hard with me to lay her down, in all her love- 
liness, in the grave. My pet, my violet-eyed 
darling !" 

He shaded his face and swallowed a sob, 
and for some moments neither spoke. After a 
while the doctor buttoned up his coat and took 
his hat. ,; 

" I am going down to my office to get a dif- 
ferent prescription. I will be back soon." 

"Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Clark said that they 
would sit up to-night. Hiram, you must be 
worn-out, losing so much sleep." 

" Tell Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Clark to go to 
Egypt ! Do you suppose I want two such 
gossip-hawks perched over my dove ? I am 
going to sit up myself. Give Irene a spoonful 
of that mixture in the small vial at seven 
o'clock." 

Contrary to his phlegmatic habit, the doctor 
had taken counsel of his fears until he was 



120 



MACARIiL 



'lompletely unnerved, and he went home more 1 
than usually surly and snappish. As he en- 
tered his office Russell advanced to meet him 
from the window, whence, for nearly an hour, 
he had been watching for his arrival. 

" Good-evening, Doctor." 

" What do you want ?" 

" How is Miss Huntingdon '."' 

" What is Miss Huntingdon to you ?" 

li She was one of my mother's best friends, 
though only a little girl at the time." 

" And you love her for your mother's sake, 
I suppose '? Truly filial." 

" For that matter, she is beautiful enough to 
be very easily loved for her own sake, judging 
from the number of her devoted admirers. 
Sut I certainly am very grateful for her kiud- 
u«ss to my mother, years ago." 

*' And well you may be, Aubrey ! She paid 
ii« arly for her friendly interest in your family." 

•' In what respect, sir ?" 

" In more respects than I choose to recapit- 
ulate. Did you ever know where she got the 
two hundred dollars which she gave your 
mother ?" 

" I presume she took it from her own purse." 

" She borrowed it from me, and paid me 
back gradually in the money that her father 
save her, from time to time, while she was at 
hoarding-school. Cyrus ! you stupid ! bring 
me some coffee." 

" How is she to-night ? Rumors are so'un- 
reliable, that I came to you to find out the 
truth." 

'• She is going to die, I am afraid." 

A sudden pallor overspread Russell's face, 
but he sat erect and motionless, and, fastening 
his keen eyes upon him, the doctor added: 

*' She is about to be transplanted to a better 
world, if there is such a place. She is too 
good and puro for this cursed, pestiferous 
t'arth." 

" Is) the case so utterly hopeless ? I can 
not, I will not, believe itl" came indistinctly 
from the young man's bloodless lips. 

" I tell you I know better ! She stands on 
a hair stretched' across her grave. If I don't 
succeed to-night in making her sleep (which 
I have been trying to accomplish for two days), 
she can't possibly live. And what is that 
whole confounded crew of factory savages in 
comparison with her precious life V" 

" Is it true that her illness is attributable to 
nursing those people V" 

" Yes. D — 1 take the Row ! I wish the 
river would swallow it up." 

" Is she conscious ?" 

"Heaven only knows; I do;i't. She lies 
with her _ eyes wide open, looking at every- 
thing as if she were searching for something 
which she had lost, but never speaks, and un- 
derstands nothing, except to swallow the med- 
icine when I put the spoon to her lips." 

" If I could only see her 1" exclaimed Rus- 
sell, and an expression of such intense agony 



settled on his features, usually so inflexible, 
that his companion was startled and astonish- 
ed. The doctor regarded him a moment with 
perplexity and compassion mingled in his own 
face ; then light broke upon him, and, rising, 
he laid his hand heavily on Russell's shoulder. 

" Of course, Aubrey, you don't visit at that 
house ?" 

" Of course not." 

" Do you meet her often ?" 

" I have not seen her for nearly a vear. 
Not since the night in which Hugh Seymour 
was drowned." 

He rose, and turned away to screen his 
countenance from the scrutiny to which it was 
subjected, for the painful shock baffled all his 
efforts at self-control and he felt that his face 
would betray him. 

" Where are you going, Aubrey ?" 

" Back to my office." 

' ; Is there any message which you would like 
for me to deliver to her, if she should recover 
her consciousness V You may trust me, young 
man." 

" Thank you ; I have no message to send. 
I merely called to ask afte/ her. I trust she 
will yet recover. Good-night." 

He walked On rapidly till he reached the 
door of his office. The gas was burning brightly 
over his desk, and red-tape and legal-cap beck- 
oned him in ; but fathomless blue eyes, calm 
as mid-ocean, looked up at him, and, without 
entering, he turned, and went through the 
cold and darkness to the cemetery, to his 
mother's tomb. She had been his comfort in 
boyish sorrows, and habit was strong ; he went 
to her grave for it still. 

When Russell left him Dr. Arnold took 
from his pocket the only solace he had ever 
known— his meerschaum. While he smoked, 
and mixed some powders in a marble mortar, 
memory industriously ran back, raking amid 
the ashes of the by-gone for here a word and 
there a look, to eke out the Ariadne thread 
which his imagination was spinning. The 
possibility of an attachment between Irene 
and the blind widow's son had never occurred 
to him before ", but that Russell's unmistak- 
able emotion could be referable simply to grat- 
itude to his mother's benefactress was an 
explanation of which he was disposed to be' 
very sceptical. If this surmise should prove 
correct, what, were Irene's feelings toward the 
popular young politician ? Here he was ab- 
solutely without data ; he could recall nothing 
to assist him ; but, comprehending the bitter 
animosity existing between the lawyer and 
her father, he sighed involuntarily, knowing 
the hopelessness of any such attachment on 
either or both sides. Determined tq satisfy 
himself of the truth at the earliest opportuni- 
ty he carefully weighed out the powder and 
rode back to the Hill. He could perceive no 
change, unless it were a heightening of the 
carmine on cheeks and lips and an increased 



MACARIA. 



121 



twitching of the fingers, which hunted so per- 
tinaciously abo'ut the bedclothes. 

" That everlasting picking, picking at every- 
thing, is such an awful bad sign," said poor 
Nellie, who was crying bitterly at the foot of 
the bed — and she covered her face' with her 
apron to shut out the sight. 

" You ' pick * yourself off to bed, Nellie ! I 
don't want you snubbing and groaning around, 
day and night." 

" I am afraid to leave her a minute. I am 
afraid when my poor baby shuts her eyes she 
never will open 'em again till she opens 'em in 
heaven." 

" Oh, go along to sleep ! you eternal old 
stupid. I will wake you up, I tell you, if' she 
gets worse." 

He mixed one of the powders and stooped 
down. 

" Irene — Irene, take this for me, won't you, 
dear ?" 

She gave no intimation of having heard him 
till he placed the wineglass to her mouth and 
raised her head tenderly ; then she swallowed 
the contents mechanically. At the expiration 
of an hour' he repeated the dose, and at ten 
o'clock, while he sat watching hec intently, he 
saw the eyelids begin to droop, the long silky 
lashes quivered and touched her cheeks. When 
he listened to her breathing, and knew that at 
last she slept, his gray head sank on his chest 
and he murmured, inaudibly, " thank God !" 
Patient as a woman, he kept his place at her 
side, fearing to move lest he should wake her ; 
the dreary hours of night wore away ; morn- 
ing came, gloriously bright, and still she slept. 
The flush had faded, leaving her wan as death, 
and the little hands were now at rest. She 
looked like the figures which all have seen on 
cenotaphs, and anxiously and often the doctor 
felt the slow pulse, that seemed weary of its 
mission. He kept the room quiet and main- 
tained his faithful watch, refusing to leave her 
for a moment. Twelve o'clock rolled round, 
and it appeared, indeed, as if Nellie's prognos- 
tication would prove true, the sleeper was so 
motionless. At three o'clock the doctor count- 
ed the pulse, and, reassured, threw his head 
back against the velvet lining of the chair and 
shut his aching eyes. Before five minutes had 
elapsed he heard a faint sweet voice say, 
'• Paragon." Springing to his feet, he saw 
her put out her hand to pat the head of 'her 
favorite, who could not be kept out of the 
room, and howled so intolerably when they 
chained him that they were forced to set him 
free. Now he stood with his paws on the pil- 
low and his face close to hers, whining with 
delight. Tears of joy almostblinded the doctor 
as he pushed Paragon aside and said, eagerly: 

"Irene, one dog is as good as another ! You 
know Paragon ; do you know me, Queen ?" 

" Certainly — I know you, Doctor." 

" God bless you, Beauty ! You have n't 
known me for a week." 



" I am so thirsty — please give me some wa- 
ter." 

He lifted her head and she drank eagerly, 
till he cheeked her. 

" There — we have n't all turned hydropath- 
ists since you were taken sick. Nellie. ! I say, 
Nellie ! you Witch of Endor ! bring some 
wine-whey here. Irene, how do you feel, 
child - ?" 

" Very tired and feeble, sir. My head is 
confused. Where is father ?" 

" Here I am, my daughter." 

He bent down with trembling lips and 
kissed her, for the first time since the day of 
their estrangement, nearly three years before. 
She put her arms feebly around his neck, and 
as he held her to his heart she felt a tear drop 
on t her forehead. 

" Father, have you forgiven me ?" 

He either could not or would not answer, 
but kissed her again warmly ; and, as he dis- 
engaged her arms and left the roorn, she felt 
assured that, at last, she had been forgiven. 
She took the whey silently, and, after some 
moments, said : 

"Doctor, have you been sitting by me' a 
long time ?" 

" I rather think I have I — losing my sleep 
for nearly ten days, you unconscionable young 
heathen." 

" Have I been so ill as to require that ? I 
have a dim recollection of going on a long 
journey, and of your being by my side all the 
way." 

" Well, I hope you travelled to your entire 
satisfaction and found what you wanted — for 
you were feeling about as if hunting for 
something the whole 1 time. Oh ! I am so 
thankful that you know me once more. Child, 
you have cost me a deal of sorrow. Now be 
quiet, and go to sleep again ; at least don't 
talk to Nellie or Paragon. I shall take a 
nap on the sofa in the library." 

She regained her strength very slowly, and 
many days elapsed before she was able to 
leave her room. One bright sunny morning 
she sat before the open window, looking down 
on the lawn where the pigeons flashed in and 
out of the hedges, and now and then glanc- 
ing at the bouquet of choice hothouse flowers 
in the vase beside her. In her lap lay a letter 
just received from Harvey Young — a letter 
full of fond remembrance-, grave counsel, and 
gentle encouragement — and the unbent lines 
about her moath showed that her mind was 
troubled. 

The doctor came in and drew up a chair. 

" I should like to know who gave you leave 
to ride yesterday ?" ~'Hj£r>"''- ■■ 

" Father thought that I was well enough, 
and the carriage was closa and warm. I hope, 
sir, that I shall not be on your hands much 
longer." 

" What did I tell you ? Next time don't be 
so hard-headed when you are advised by older 



122 



MACARIA. 



and wiser persons. I trust you are quite sat- 
isfied with the result of your eleemosynary 
performances at the Row." 

" Far from it, Doctor. I am fully acclimat- 
ed now, and have nothing to fear in future. 
I -am very sorry, sir, that I caused you all so 
much trouble and anxiety ; I did not believe 
that I sbouM take the fever. If Philip had 
not been so ill I should have come out safely ; 
but, I suppose, my uneasiness about him un- 
nerved me in some way — for, when I saw that 
he would get well, all my strength left me in 
an instant. How is he, sir ?" 

"Oh ! the young dog is as well as ever ; 
limps around now without his crutches. Comes 
to my office every day to ask after his blessed 
Lady Bountiful." 

Leaning forward carelessly, but so as to 
command a full view of her face, he added : 

" "You stirred up quite an excitement in 
town, and introduced me generally to society. 
People, who never inflicted themselves on me 
before, thought it was' incumbent on them to 
hang around my door to make inquiries con- 
cerning my fair patient. On'e night I found 
even that statue of bronze and steel, Russell 
Aubrey, waiting at my office to find out wheth- 
er you really intended translation." 

A change certainly passed swiftly over 
her countenance ; but it was inexplicable, in- 
describable ; an anomalous lightening of the 
eye and darkening of the brow. Before he 
could analyze it her features resumed their 
wonted serenity, and he found her voice un- 
fluttered. 

" I was not aware that I had so many 
friends ; it is a pleasant discovery, and almost 
compensates for the pain of illness. Take 
care, Doctor ! You are tilting my flowers out 
of their vase." 

" Confound the flowers, Queen ! They are 
always in the way. It is a great pity there is 
such Theban -brother affection between your 
father and Aubrey. He has any amount of 
fine feeling hid away under that dark, Jesuit- 
ical, non-committal face of his. He has not 
forgotten your interest in his mother, and 
when I told him that I thought you had de- 
termined to take your departure from this 
world he seemed really hurt about it. I al- 
ways liked the boy, but I think he is a heretic 
in politics." 

Looking steadily at him as he spoke, she 
smiled coldly, .and answered : 

" It is very apparent that this fierceness of 
party spirit, this bitter political animosity, is 
driving the ship of State on the rock of Ruin. 
The foamy lips of the breakers are just ahead, 
but you men will not open your eyes to the 
danger." 

"Better get some of you wise women to 
pilot us, I dare say !" sneered her companion, 
provoked at her unsatisfactory manner and 
inflexible features. 

" It is not our calling, Doctor ; but I promise 



you, if the experiment were tried, that you 
would find no Palinurus among us. We have 
no desire to thrust ourselves into the forum, 
like Roman women ' storming at the Oppian 
Law and crushing Cato ;' still less to imitate 
•Hortensia and confronting august Triumvirs 
in the market-place, harangue against the tax, 
however unjust. Practically, women should 
have as little to do with politics as men with 
darning stockings or making puff-paste ; but 
we should be unworthy of the high social status 
which your chivalry accords us were we 
indifferent to the conduct of public affairs. 

' Man for tlie field, and woman for the hearth : 
Man for the sword, and for the needle she : 
Man with the head, and woman with the heart : 
Man to command, and woman to obey.' 

Such is the judicious arrangement of nature — 
a wise and happy one, indubitably. We bow 
before it, and have no wish to trench on your 
prerogatives ; but we do protest against your 
sleeping on your posts, or lulling yourselves 
with dreams of selfish ambition when Scylla 
and Charybdis grin destruction on either side." 

" Phew — Queen ! who told you all that V 
Has Aubrey indoctrinated you in his ' fire-eat- 
ing,' schismatic principles'? What platform 
do you propose to mount ?" 

"None, sir, but that of the constitution — 
ignoring both whig and democratic additions, 
which make it top-heavy. I don't like latter- 
day political carpentering. I want to see Nes- 
tors in the councils of my country, not nerve- 
less imbeciles, or worthless, desperate political 
gamesters." 

" You rabid little Jacobin ! Don't you 
think that, Portia-like, you might completely 
transmogrify yourself, and get into Congress 
and Cabinet long enough to write ' Mene, 
mene ' on their walls ?" 

" They would have no Daniel thei-e, even if 
I should, which is no business of mine. Doc- 
tor, I claim to be no politician ; a thousand 
years will scarcely produce another De Stael. 
I am simply a true lover of my country — 
anxious in view of its stormy, troubled future." 

"Aubrey has not proselyted you, then, after 
all ?" 

She had unlocked her writing-desk, and, 
without seeming to hear his last words, handed 
him a letter. 

"Here is a letter from Uncle Eric, which I 
received yesterday. It contains a message 
for you about some medical books and 
journals." 

He muttered something indistinctly, put the 
letter in his pocket, and took her hand. 

" Irene — what is the matter, dear child ? 
Your pulse is entirely too quick." 

"That is nothing new, Doctor. Father 
insists that I shall drink port-wine, and it does 
not suit me — keeps my head aching continu- 
ally." 

" Try porter instead." 

She shook her head wearily. 



MACARIA. 



123 



" I need nothing, sir, but to be let alone." 

He smoothed back her hair and said, 
hastily : 

" You will never get what you need. Oh, 
child ! why won't you trust me ?" 

« Why— Doctor ! I do." 

," Hush ! don't tell me that ! I know better. 
You steel that white face of yours, and lock 
your confidence from the old man who loves 
you above all other things." 

She drew down his hand from her head and 
leaned her cold cheek upon it. 

" You misunderstand me, sir ; I repose the 
most perfect confidence in you. If I were in 
trouble, and wanted help or a favor of any 
kind, I would apply to you sooner than to any 
other human being — for you have always been 
more patient with my whims than even my 
own father — and I should be worse than an 
ingrate if I had not the most complete trust in 
you. My dear, kind friend, what have I done 
to fret you ?" 

He did not reply, but searched her counte- 
nance sorrowfully. 

• " Dpctor, tell me one thing. You nursed 
me constantly while I was unconscious, and I 
want to know whether I said anything during 
my delirium that surprised or annoyed you." 

" No ; the trouble was that you sealed your 
lips hermetically. Are you afraid now that 
you divujged some secret which I may betray?" 

" I am not afraid of your betraying any- 
thing — never had such a thought. When do 
you think that I may take a horseback ride 
with impunity ? I am so tired of the house." 

" Not for a week, at least. You must be 
prudent, Irene, for you are not strong yet, by 
a great deal." 

" I wanted to talk to you, this morning, 
about something very near my heart ;' but you 
are going." 

" I can wait, my child. What is it ?" 

'• To-morrow will do as well. I want you 
to aid me in getting a bill passed by the legis- 
lature appropriating a school-fund for this 
county. Perhaps you can obtain Mr. Aubrey's 
influence with the members of the lower 
house." 

" Perhaps I '11 go to the North Pole to cool 
a glass of amontillado for your majesty ! I '11 
be hanged if I have anything to do with it ! 
Why the deuce can't you ask Mr. Aubrey 
yourself?" 

" Because, in the first place, you know very 
well that I never see him, and I could not 
ask him, even if I should meet him; and, 
beside, I do not wish to be known at all in the 
affair. It is not a woman's business to put 
forward legislative bills."' 

" Indeed! Then why are you meddling 
with other people's business ?" 

" Our legislators seem to have forgotten one 
grand and good maxim of Lycurgus : ' Chil- 
dren are the property of the state, to whom 
alone thein education should be intrusted.' 



They have forgotten that our poor require 
educating, and I simply desire some of their 
constituents to call their attention to the over- 
sight. Doctor, I know you will do it." 

" I will first see myself floundering like 
Pharaoh ! I '11 rake out nobody's chestnuts ! 
Not even yours, child ! Put down that win- 
dow ;- the air is too chilly. You are as cold as 
an iceberg and as blue as a gentian." 

The doctor had scarcely taken his departure 
when Nellie's turbaned head showed itself at 
the door. 

" That factory-boy, Philip, is down stairs ; 
be brought back a book, and wants to see you. 
He seems in trouble ; but you don't feel like 
being bothered to-day, do you ?" 

" Did he ask to see me ?" 

" Not exactly ; but showed very plainly he 
wanted to see you." 

" Let him come up." 

As he entered she rose and held out her 
hand. 

" Good-morning, Philip ; I am glad you are 
well enough to be out again." 

He looked at her reverently, and, as he no- 
ticed the change her illness had wrought, his 
lips quivered and his eyes filled. 

" Oh, Miss Irene ! I am so glad you are bet- 
ter. I prayed for you all the time while you 
were so very ill." 

" Thank you. Sit down and tell me about 
the sick." 

. " They are all better, I believe, ma'm, ex- 
cept Mrs. Davis. She was wishing yesterday 
that she could see you again." 

" I shall go there in a day or two. You are 
walking pretty well without your crutches. 
Have you resumed your work ?" 

" I shall begin again to-morrow." 

" It need not interfere with your studies. 
The nights are very long now, and ' you can 
accomplish a great deal if you feel disposed 
to do so." 

He did not answer immediately, and, observ- 
ing the cloud on his countenance, she added : 

" Philip, what is the matter ? You look 
troubled ; can I do anything for you ?" 

A deep flush mantled his sallow cheek, and, 
drooping his head as if in humiliation, he said, 
passionately : 

" Oh, Miss Irene ! You are the only friend 
I have. I am so mortified I can hardly look 
anybody in the face. Father is drinking again 
worse than ever, and is so violent that mother 
won't stay at home ; she has gone across the 
river for a few days. I have done all I could, 
but I can't influence him." 

" Where is he now ?" 

" The police put him in the guard-house 
last njght for creating a disturbance. I sup- 
pose, when the Mayor holds court, he will be 
fined and turned out. Miss Irene, I feel like 
jumping into the river and drowning myself. 
It is so horrible to be ashamed of my own 
father !" 



124 



MACARIA. 



He dropped his face in his hands, and she 
saw that he trembled violently.. 

" You must struggle against such feelings, 
Philip ; though it is certainly very mortifying 
to know that your father has been arrested. 
.If you conduct yourself properly, people will 
respect you all the more because of your mis- 
fortune." 

"No, Miss Irene! they are always holding 
it up to me. Hard as I try to do right, they 
are continually sneering at me, and sometimes 
it makes me almost desperate." 

" That is unjust and ungenerous. No one, 
who has any refinement or goodness of heart, 
will be guilty of such behavior. I do not 
know positively that I can assist you, but I 
think it possible I can obtain a situation for 
your father as carpenter on a plantation in 
the country, if he will promise to abstain from 
drinking. I have heard that he was a very 
good mechanic, and in the country he would 
not meet with such constant temptation. Do 
you suppose that he will be willing to leave 
town ?" 

" Oh, yes, ma'm ! I think so ; he is generally 
very repentant when he gets sober. If you 
please, Miss Irene, I should be so glad if you 
would talk to him, and persuade him to take 
the pledge before he starts. I believe he 
would join the Temperance society if you ask- 
ed him to do it. Oh ! then I should have some 
heart to work." 

" You and your mother must try to influence 
him, and in a few days I will talk to him. In 
the meantime I will see about the situation, 
which is a very desirable one. I am very sorry, 
Philip, that this trouble has occurred again ; I 
know that it is very painful, but you must en- 
deavor to be patient and hopeful, and to bear 
up bravely. Brighter days will soon come, I 
trust." 

He took his cap from the carpet, rose, and 
looked at her with swimming eyes. 

" Oh, Miss Irene ! I wish I could tell you all 
I feel. I thank you more than I can ever ex- 
press, and so does mother." 

" You have finished your book, I see ; don't 
you want another ? Nellie will show you the 
library, and on the lower book-shelf, on the 
right-hand side of the door, you will find a 
large volume in leather binding — ' Plutarch.' 
Take it with you and read it carefully. Good- 
by. I shall come down to the Row to-morrow 
or next day." 

As she heard his halting step descend the 
stairs she leaned back wearily in her chair, 
and, closing her eyes, these words crept almost 
inaudibly over her pale lips : 

"';.. ',,.; • • • But go to! thy love 

.Shall chant itself, its own beatitudes, 
After its own life-working. A child s kiss 
Set on thy sighing lips, shall make thee glad ; 
A. poor man served by thee, shall make thee rich; 
A sick ma nelpod by thee, shall make thee strong." 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

" Well, Irene, what is your decision about 
the party at Mrs. Churchhill's to-night ?" 

" I will go with you, Father, if it is a matter 
of so much interest to you ; though, as I told 
you yesterday, I should prefer declining the 
invitation as far as I am concerned." 

" It is full time for you to go into society 
again. You have moped at home long enough." 

"'Moped' is scarcely the right word, Fa- 
ther." 

" It matters little what you call it, the fact 
is the same. You have shut yourself in till 
you have grown to look like a totally different 
woman. Indeed, Irene, I won't permit it any 
longer ; you must come out into the world 
once more. I am sick of your black looks; 
let me see you in colors' to-night." 

" Will not pure white content you, Father?" 

" No ; I am tired of it ; wear something 
bright." 

Mr. Huntingdon smoked his after-breakfast 
cigar, half-reclined on the upper step, and 
Irene walked up and down the wide colon- 
nade, enjoying the cool, dewy, fragrant June 
day, whose sun was rapidly mounting in heav- 
en. The air was of that peculiar stillness 
found only in southern summer mornings, but 
now and then its holy calm was rippled by the 
contented ringing whistle of a partridge far, 
down among the grassy orchard-depths, and 
by the peaceful chime of doves cooing soft and 
low, one to another, in the thickest shadows of 
the dripping grove. True summer sounds- 
sure concomitants of June. Frail, foam-like 
cloud-navies in line-of- battle, as if piloted by 
dubious, treacherous winds, sailed lazily across 
the sea of intense blue, staring down covet- 
ously at a ripening field of flashing wheat 
which bowed and wavered in a long billowy 
sweep and swell as the mild June breeze 'Stole 
over it; and on a neighboring hill-side, where 
sickles had been busy a few days before, the 
royal yellow shocks stood thick and tall in 
crowded ranks, like golden gods of Plenty. 

Ah ! rare June day, impearled and purpled, 
freshly glowing from the robing hands of Dei- 
ty, serenely regal on her southern throne as* 
Sheba's brown queen. 

" Irene, sit. here on the step, where I can 
see you without twisting my head off of my 
shoulders. Now, then — what is the matter 
with you ?" 

" Nothing unusual, Father." 

" Don't evade me. Why can't you look and 
act like other girls of your age ?" 

" Probably because I feel differently. But 
to what do you allude ? In what respect have 
I displeased yau ?" 

" Oh 1 in a thousand. You never would 
look at things in their proper light. Why did 
you treat William Bainbridge so coldly yester- 
day evening'? You know very well that he 
came here expressly to see you." 



MACARIA. 



125 



"And, for that reason, sir, I felt it my duty 
to receive the visit coolly." 

" You disappointed all my plans for you 
once ; but let me tell you, if you are not a 
downright simpleton, you will accept the offer 
William Bainbridge came here to make. You 
are aware of the warm friendship which has 
always existed between the governor and my- 
self, and his son is considered the finest match 
in the state. If you live a thousand years 
you will never have a better offer, or another 
as good ; and I do hope, my daughter, that you 
will not be insane enough to reject him." 

" Father, why nre you so anxious to get rid 
f your only child ?"' 

•' I am not ; but you must marry some time, 
and I know very well such an opportunity as 
this will not recur." 

" Don't you think, sir, that you and I could 
live always happily here without planting a 
stranger at our fireside V Father, let us un- 
derstand each other fully. I speak deliberate- 
ly and solemnly — I shall never marry." 

Mr. Huntingdon started up from his indo- 
lent posture and surveyed his daughter keenly. 

Her spotless muslin morning-dress swept 
down the marble steps, its wide sleeves falling 
away from the rounded dazzling arms, and a 
black cord and tassel girding the waist. The 
geranium-leaves fastened at her throat were 
unstirred as the silver-dusted lilies sleeping, 
lotos-like, on some lonely tarn ; and the dewy 
Lamarque roses twined in her coiled hair 
glittering and kindled into faint opaline flushes 
as the sunshine quivered into their creamy' 
hearts. One hand held a steel ring, to which 
half-a-dozen keys were attached — the other 
toyed unconsciously with the heavy tassel, 
and the hushed face, with its deep holy eyes, 
was lifted to meet her father's. 

" Nonsense, Irene ! I have heard fifty wom- 
en say that same thing, and have danced at 
their weddings six months later." 

u I do not doubt it. But, Father, no one 
will ever dance at mine." 

" And pray why have n't you as good a right 
to marry and be happy as other women V 

" The abstract right, and the will to use it, 
are different, Father; and, as regards happi- 
ness, I love my own beautiful home too well 
to desire to change it for any other. Let me 
be quiet bene — I ask no more." 

" But, Irene, I can't be expected to live 
always, even were my society sufficient for 
you, which is not true/' 

" Death yields allegiance to no decree of 
man. I may find Hugh in another world" 
before you are called to quit this." 

Her father shuddered, and smoked silently 
for several seconds ; then the crash of wheels 
on the shelled avenue startled both. 

u Here comes Bainbridge now. I promised 
him that you would play a game of billiards 
with him this morning. For .heaven's sake, 
Irene ! be reasonable for once in your life ; let 



me hear no more such stuff as you have been 
talking, but treat the man civilly, and give 
him what he will ask." 

The handsome suitor icame up the steps 
rather dubiously, as if fearful of his welcome ; 
and the heiress rose composedly and received 
him with graceful, polished, imperturbable re- 
serve. A few months before, in compliance 
with her father's earnest request, she had ac- 
companied him to the capital- of the state, and 
during this brief visit met and completely fas- 
cinated Mr. Bainbridge, whose attentions were 
susceptible of but one interpretation. He was 
a year her senior — a chivalric, agreeable, gay- 
young man, who had grown up without select- 
ing a profession, knowing that his ample fort- 
une would more , than suffice for his mainte- 
nance. He was the only son of the goverjior; 
his character was unimpeachable, his nature 
magnanimous, and many of his impulses were 
truly noble — but his intellect was far inferior 
to hers. Fie could no more comprehend her 
than some long-inurned Assyrian scroll, for. 
which the cipher-key is wanting ; and in the 
midst of his devotion she was conscious of no 
feeling save that of utter indifference, some- 
times waxing into impatience at his frequent 
visits. -She had studiously avoided encourag- 
ing his attentions, but he either could not or 
would not interpret her cold reticence. 

The morning was spent over the billiard- 
table, and at last, foiled by her skilful guiding 
of the fragmentary^ conversation, Mr. Bain- 
bridge having been refused the honor of es- 
corting 'her to the party, took his leave, ex- 
pressing the hope that in a few hours he 
should see her again. 

" Well V" said Mr. Huntingdon, seating him- 
self at the luncheon-table. 

" Well, Father ; we played till I was heartil v 
tired." 

" But the result of the visit, Irene ?"' 

" The result was that I beat him three games 
out of fi'v6. John, where is the claret ? You 
have forgotten it ; here are the keys." 

" Pshaw ! I mean, did Bainbridge come to 
the point." 

" I took most of the points from him." 

" Confound your quibbling ! Did you ac- 
cept him ?" 

" lam happy to be able to tell you, sir, that 
he did not afford me an opportunity." 

" Then I will be sworn it was your fault- 
not his !" 

A short silence ensued ; Irene sat, seeminjrlv 
abstracted, dipping her slender hand in a 
ruby-colored Bohemian finger-bowl. Present- 
ly John returned ; she took the bottle from 
him, and, filling her father's glass, said, 
earnestly : 

"Father, I have a favor to ask at your 
hands ; are you in a mood for concessions?" 

" ' That depends — ,' as Guy Darrell says. 
What is it ? Do you wanfc a new collar for 
Paragon, or a bran new pigeon-box twice the 



126 



MACAEIA. 



size of the old one ? Something unreasonable, 
I will warrant. You never want what you 
ought to have. Speak out, my bleached gen- 
tile Esther !" J 

" I do want another pigeon-box badly, but 
that is not to be asked tor to-day. Father, 
will you give me that large beautiful vacant 
lot, with the old willow-tree, on the corner of 
Pine street and Huntingdon avenue, opposite 
the court-house ?" 

" Upon my word ! I must say you are very 
modest in your request. What the deuce do 
you want with it ?" 

" I know that I am asking a good deal, sir ; 
but I want it as a site for an orphan-asylum. 
Will you give it to me ?" 

"No! 1 '11 be hanged if I do ! Are you 
going entirely deranged '? What business have 
you with asylums, I should like to know V 
Put all of that ridiculous stuff out of your head. 
Here is something for which I sent to Europe. 
Eric selected it in Paris, and it arrived yes- 
terday. Wear it to-night." 

He drew a velvet case from his pocket and 
laid it before her. Touching the spring, the 
lid flew open, and on the blue satin lining lay 
the blazing coils of a magnificent diamond 
necklace and bracelets. 

" How beautiful ! how splendidly beautiful !" 

She bent over the flashing mass in silent 
admiration for some time, examining the deli- 
cate setting, then looked up at her lather. 

" What did they cost ?" 

" Why do you want to know that ?" 

" I am pardonably curious on the subject." 

" Well, then, I was silly enough to give 
seven thousand dollars for them." 

"And what is the value of that lot I asked 
for r 

" Five thousand dollars." 

" Father, these diamonds are the finest I 
ever , saw. They are superbly beautiful ; a 
queen might be proud of them, and I thank 
you most earnestly for such. a gorgeous present; 
but, if you will not be offended, I will be can- 
did with you — I would a thousand times rather 
have the lot than the jewels." 

The expression of blank astonishment with 
which these words were received would have 
been ludicrous but for the ominous thickening 
of his brows. 

" Father, do not feel hurt with me, or at- 
tribute my conduct to any want of gratitude 
for your indulgent kindness. If I love the 
smiles of happy children more than the radi- 
ance of those costly gems, and would rather 
wear in my heart the contented faces of well- 
cared-for orphans than on my neck these glitter- 
ing diamonds, may I not at least utter my 
preference without offending you ? When I 
think of the better use to which this money 
might be applied, the incalculable good it 
would effect, I shrink from hoarding it up on 
mv person to dazzle the eyes of my associates, 
to' incite some to imitate the lavish expendi- 



ture, and to awaken in others envious discon- 
tent at their inability to cover themselves with 
similar splendor. The result of such an exam- 
ple on our society would be like dropping a 
pebble into some crystal lakelet sleeping in 
evening sunshine ; the wavering ring would 
widen till the. entire glassy surface'was shiver- 
ed into spinning circles and dashed on the 
rocky shore beyond. Father, forgive me if I 
have said anything disagreeable to you. I 
shall be grieved indeed if, on the occasion of 
your |oo generous indulgence, any dissension 
arise between us. Tell me that you are not 
angry with me." 

She laid her fingers on his arm, but he 
shook off' the touch, and, scowling sullenly, 
snatched the velvet case from her hand and 
stamped out of the room— slamming the door 
so violently that the glasses on the table rang 
out a tinkling chime and the red wine in the 
bottle danced a saraband. 

He went to town, and she met him no more 
till she was attired lor the party. Standing 
before the mirror in her own room she arrang- 
ed the flowers in her hair, and, when the leaves 
were disposed to suit her fastidious taste, she 
took up a pearl set which he had given her 
years before, intending to wear it. But just 
then, raising her eyes, she saw her father's 
image reflected in thje glass. Without turning 
she put up her arms, and laying her head back 
on his shoulder said, eagerly : 

'■ My dear, dear Father, do let us be recon- 
ciled." 

Clouds and moodiness melted from his hand- 
some features as he bent over h'er an instant, 
kissing her fondly ; then his hands passed 
swiftly over her neck, an icy shower fell upon 
it, and she was clothed with light. 

" My beautiful child, wear your diamonds 
as a seal of peace. I can't let you have the 
Pine street lot — I want it for a different pur- 
pose ; but I will give you three acres on the 
edge of town, near the depot, for your asylum 
whim. It is a better location every way for 
your project." 

" Thank you, Father. Oh ! thank you, more 
than words can express." 

She turned her lips to one of the hands still 
lingering on her shoulder. 

" Irene, look at yourself. Diana of Ephesus ! 
what a blaze of glory !" 

" Father, it would not require much stretch 
of imagination to believe that, by some descen- 
dental metempsychosis, I .had become an ex- 
humed member of the sacred gnomides, torn 
ruthlessly from my sisterhood in Cerro do Frio 
or the cold dreary caverns of the Agathyrsi." 

" The metamorphosis is not sufficiently com- 
plete without your bracelets. Put them on 
and come down ; the carriage is ready. Where 
is your bouquet- holder ? Give it to me ; I will 
fasten the flowers in while you draw on -your 
gloves." 

Two days before, the marriage of Charles 



MACARIA. 



127 



Harris and Maria Henderson had been cele- 
brated with considerable pomp, and the party 
to-night was given in honor of the event by 
Mrs. Churchhill, a widowed sister of Judge 
Harris. She had spent several years in Paris, 
superintending the education of a daughter, 
whom she had recently brought home to reside 

near her uncle and dazzle all W with 

her accomplishments. 

At ten o'clock there stood beneath the gas- 
lights in her elegant parlor a human fleshy 
antithesis, upon which all eyes were riveted— 
Salome Churchhill — a dark imperious beauty, 
of the Cleopatra type, with very full crimson 
lips, passionate or pouting as occasion demand- 
ed ; brilliant black eyes that, like August days, 
burned, dewless and unclouded, a steady blaze ; 
thick shining black hair elaborately curled, 
and a rich tropical complexion, clear and 
glowing as the warm blood that pulsed through 
her rounded graceful form. She wore a fleecy 
fabric, topaz-colored, with black lace trim- 
mings ; yellow roses gemmed her hair, and 
topaz and ruby ornaments clasped her throat 
and arms. An Eastern queen she looked, 
exacting universal homage, and full of fiery 
jealousy whenever her eyes fell upon one who 
stood just opposite. A statuesque face, pure 
and calnVas any ever cut from Pentelic quarry, 
and cold as its dews — the delicately-carved 
features borrowing no color from the glare 
around her, the polished shoulders and perfect 
arms gleaming frigidly in the rainbow-light of 
her diamonds, and the bronze hair caught up 
by a pearl comb, with here and there a cluster 
of clematis bells drooping toward her neck. 
Irene's dress was an airy blue tulle, flounced 
to the waist, and without trimming save the 
violet and clematis clusters. Never had her 
rare beauty .heen more resplendent — more 
dazzlingly chilly ; it seemed the glitter of an 
arctic iceberg lit by some low midnight sun, 
and, turn whither she would, fascinated groups 
followed her steps. Salome's reputation as a 
brilliant belle had become extended since 
Irene's long seclusion, yet to-night, on the re- 
appearance of the latter, it was apparent to 
even the most obtuse that she resumed her 
sway — the matchless cynosura of that social 
system. Fully conscious of the intense ad- 
miration she excited she moved slowly from 
room to room, smiling once or twice when she 
met her father's proud look of fond triumph 
fixed upon her. 

Leaning against the window to rest, while 
Charles Harris went in search of a glass of 
water, she- heard her name pronounced by 
some one on the gallery. 

" They say Irene Huntingdon is positively 
going to marry Bainbridge. Splendid match 
both sides'. Won't she shine at the governor's 
mansion ? I wonder if she really grieved much 
for Seymour ? How perfectly lovely she is ; 
and Huntingdon is so proud of her. By the 
way, Neal, have you heard the last gossip ?" 



" About whom ? I haye b'een away a month, 
you must remember, and am behind the times. 
Do tell me." 

" Well, the very latest report is that, after 
all, Aubrey never fancied Grace Harris, as the 
quidnuncs asserted — never addressed her, or 
anybody else — but is now sure enough about 
to bear off belle Salome, the new prize, right 
in the face of twenty rivals. I should really 
like to hear of something which that man could 
not do, if he set' himself to work in earnest. I 
wonder whether it ever recurs to him that he 
once stood behind Jacob Watson's counter.?" 

"But Aubrey is not here. to-night. Does 
not affect parties, I believe ?" 

"Rarely shows himself; but you mistake; 
he came in not twenty minutes ago, and you 
should have seen what I saw — the rare-ripe red 
deepen on Salome's cheeks when he spoke to 
her.'-' 

Irene moved away from the window, and 
soon after was about to accompany Charlie to 
the hall, when Mr. Bainbridge came up and 
claimed her hand for the cotillon forming in 
the next room. As they took their places on 
the floor she saw that Salome and Kussell 
would be vis-a-vis. With an effort she raised 
her eyes to those of the man whom she had 
seen last at Hugh's bier; he drooped his head 
very slightly, she inclined hers ; then the band 
smote their instruments, violin and piano, and 
the crash of music filled the house. 

Irene moved mechanically through the airy 
mazes of the dance, giving apparent attention 
to the low-toned, half-whispered observations 
of her devoted partner, but straining her ear 
to catch the mellow voice which uttered such 
graceful fascinating nothings to Salome. Sev- 
eral times in the course of the cotillon Russell's 
hand clasped hers, but even then he avoided 
looking at her,' and seemed engrossed in con- 
versation with his gay partner. Once Irene 
looked up steadily, and as she noted the 
expression with which he regarded his com- 
panion she wondered no longer at the rumor 
she had heard, and acknowledged to herself 
that they were, indeed, a handsome couple. 
Dr. Arnold, whom Mrs. Churchhill had coaxed 
into " showing himself," had curiously watched 
this meeting, and, observing Russell's marked 
attentions, puzzled over the question : " Does 
he really care for that fire-fly, or is he only 
crying to make Irene jealous?" He looked 
long and earnestly at both, then sighed heavi- 
ly. What did that haughty blue-robed woman 
know of jealousy ? How absurd such a sug- 
gestion seemed when she turned her smiling 
passionless face full upon him. The dance 
ended ; Irene found herself seated on a sofa at 
the window of the deserted library, and Rus- 
sell and Salome walked slowly up and down 
the veranda in front of it. Mr. Bainbridge 
had manoeuvred for this opportunity, and, seat- 
ed beside Irene, he eagerly and eloquently 
pleaded his cause, assuring her of a devotion 



128 



MAC ARIA. 



which should know no diminution, and empha- 
sizing the fact that he had possessed himself 
of her father's sanction. 

She made no attempt to interrupt him, but 
sat erect and motionless, with one hand par- 
tially shielding her face and the other pi-essed 
hard against her heart, where a dull continual 
pain was gnawing. Every few minutes Russell 
passed the window, his noble head bent down 
to the beautiful companion on his arm. Irene 
could see the. outline of his features distinctly, 
and her sou* sickened as she watched him and 
reasoned concerning the future. He would 
probably marry somebodj^, and why not Sa- 
lome ? She could not expect him to remain 
single always, and he could never be more 
than a stranger to her. After his marriage, 
what a blank her life would be ; to love him 
still would be sinful. She moved her fingers 
slightly and looked fixedly at the handsome 
man beside her, entreating her to give him the 
privilege of making her life happy. For an 
instant she wavered. The world held nothing 
for her but dreariness at best ; she was weary 
of alienation and contention ; why not accede 
to her father's wishes, and thus repair the 
grievous disappointment of other days ? Wil- 
liam Bainbridge loved her, and perhaps if she 
were his wife the sanctity of her vows might 
strengthen her in tearing another image from 
her heart. She took her future in the palm of 
her hand and pondered. At this moment the 
couple on the veranda paused in front of the 
window, to allow the promenading crowd to 
pass, and Russell looked in, with a brilliant 
smile on his countenance. It seemed to mock 
her with a " Marry him if you dare !" The 
two passed'on into the parlors, and closing her 
eyes a moment, as if shutting out some hideous 
vision, Irene briefly, but firmly and irrevoca- 
bly, declined the flattering offer; and rising, 
left him with his disappointment. She looked 
about for Dr. Arnold, but he had disappeared ; 
her father was deep in a game of euchre ; and 
.as she crossed the hall she was surprised to see 
Philip leaning against the door-facing and 
peering curiously into the parlors. 

" Philip, what are you doing here ?" 

" Oh, Miss Irene ! I have been hunting for 
you ever so long. Mrs. Davis is dying, and 
Susan sent me after you. I went to your 
house two hours ago, and they said you were 
here. I ran back and told mother you could 
not come. But Mrs. Davis worried so, they 
sent me here. She says she won't die in peace 
unless she sees you. She wrung her hands, 
and asked me if you would not have time 
enough to go to parties when she was in her 
grave ? Will you come, ma'ra ?" 

" Of course. Philip, find Andrew and the 
carnage, and I will meet you at the side door 
jn five minutes." 

She went to the dressing-room, asked for 
pencil and paper, and wrote a few lines, which 
she directed the servant to hand immediately 



to h&r father — found her shawl, and stole down 
to the side door. She saw the dim outline of a 
form sitting on the step, in the shadow of clus- 
tering vines, and asked : 

" Is that you, Philip ? I am ready.*' 

The figure rose, came forward into the light, 
hat in hand, and both started visibly. 

" Pardon me, Mr. Aubrey. I mistook you 
in-the darkness for another." 

Here Philip ran up the steps. 

" Miss Irene, Andrew says he can't get to 
the side gate for the carriages. He is at the 
front entrance." 

'• Can I assist you, Miss Huntingdon ?" 

■ : Thank you ; no." 

"May I ask if you are ill ?" 

" Not in the least — but I am suddenly called 
away." 

She passed him, and accompanied Philip to 
the carriage. A few ■minutes rapid driving 
brought them to the Row, and, directing An- 
drew to return and wait for her father, Irene 
entered the low small chamber where a human 
soul was pluming itself for its final flight home. 
The dying woman knew her even then in the 
fierce throes of dissolution, and the sunken 
eye3 beamed as she bent over the pillow. 

" God bless you ! I knew you would come. 
My children — what will become of them ? 
Will you take care of them? Tell me quick." 

"Put your mind at rest, Mrs. Da. is. I 
will see that your children are weli cared for 
in every respect." 

" Promise me !" gasped the poor sufferer, 
clutching the jewelled arm. 

" I do promise you most solemnly that I will 
watch over them constantly. They shall 
never want so long as I live. Will you not 
believe me, and calm yourself r" 

A ghastly smile trembled over the distorted 
features, and she bowed her head in assent. 
Irene poured some cordial into a glass and put 
it to her lips, but she refused the draught, and, 
joining her emaciated hands, muttered half- 
inaudibly : 

i " Pray for me once more. Oh ! pray for 
me, my best friend." 

Kneeling on the bare floor in the mid- 1 of a 
sobbing group, Irene prayed long and earnest- 
ly ; and gradually, as her sweet voice rolled 
through the room, a peaceful look settled on 
the dying mother's face. At last the petition" 
ended and silence reigned, broken only by the 
smothered sobs of Susan and little Johnnie, 
who clung to Irene's hand and buried his face 
in her dress as she still knelt at the bedside. 

"Mrs. Davis, don't you feel that you will 
soon be at rest with God ? ' 

" Yes ; I am going home happy — happy.'' 

She closed her eyes and whispered : 

" Sing my — hymn — once — more." 

Making a great effort to crush her own 
feelings, Irene sang the simple but touching 
wordsof " Home Again," and though her voice 
faltered now and then, she sang it through — 



MACARIA. 



129 



knowing, from the expression of the sufferer's 
face, that the spirit was passing to its endless 
rest. 

It was a strange scene. The poverty of the 
reom — the emaciated form, with 9liarp, set 
features — the magnificently beautiful woman 
kneeling there in her costly festal-robes, with 
the iigat of the tallow candle flickering over 
her diamonds, setting her neck and arms on 
fire — and the weeping girl and wailing curly- 
haired boy, whose tearful face was hidden in 
the full flounces of bhie tulle. "Passing 
strange,"' thought the proud man of the world, 
who had followed her from the scenes of fes- 
tivity and, now stood in the door-way listening 
with hushed breath, "to the prayer she had put 
up, to the words of the hymn she had sung so 
sorrowfully, and gazing in silent adoration 
upon the face and form of the kneeling 
woman. Now one of the beautiful arms stole 
around the trembling child who clung to her 
so tenaciously, and she gently lifted the chest- 
nut curls from his flushed face. 

" Don't sob so, Johnnie. Your mother is in 
heaven, where there is no sorrow, or sickness, 
or trouble. She will be very happy there ; 
and if you are as good and patient as she was, 
you will meet her in heaven when God calls 
you to die." 

" Oh 1 is she dead ? Miss Irene, is my 
mother dead ?" 

" My dear little boy, she has gone to our 
Father in heaven, who will make her happier 
than she could possibly be in this world." 

A passionate burst of sorrow followed the 
discovery of thte melancholy truth, and rising 
from the floor Irene seated herself on a chair, 
taking the child on her lap and soothing his 
violent grief. Too young to realize his loss, he 
was easily comforted, and after a time grew 
quiet. She directed Susan to take him into 
the next room and put him on his pallet ; and 
when she had exchanged a few words with 
Philip's mother about the disposition of the 
rigid sleeper, she turned to quit the apartment, 
and saw Russell standing on the threshold. 
Had the dead mother suddenly stepped before 
her she would scarcely have been more as- 
tonished and startled. 

He extended one hand, and hastily taking 
hers, drew her to the door of the narrow dark 
hali, where the newly-risen moon shone in. 

" Come out of this charnel-house into the 
pure air once more. Do not shrink back — 
trust yourself with me this once, at least." 

The brick walls of the Factory rose a hun- 
dred yards off in full view of the Row, and 
leading her along the .river bank he placed 
her on one of the massive stone steps of the 
building. 

" What brought you here to-night, Mr. 
Aubrey ?" 

u An unpardonable curiosity concerning 
your sudden departure— an unconquerable de- 
sire to speak to you once more " 
9 



" You witnessed a melancholy scene." 

" Yes — melancholy indeed ; but not half so 
sad as one which memory held before me while 
I wafehed yonder pale corpse grow rigid. 
The veil of the Past was rent, and I stood 
again over my OT^n dead mother. For me 
there is no Lethe. In memoriam creeps in 
sombre characters over all that I look upon." 

A waning June moon, in its last quarter, 
struggled feebly up the eastern sky, " hounded 
by a few dim stars," and the spectral light fell 
like a dying smile upon the silent scene — the 
broad swift river flashing below, champing 
with foamy lips on the rocky bit that barred 
its current, and breaking into shimmering 
silver cataracts as it leaped triumphantly over 
a gray ledge of granite and thundered down 
into the basin beyond, churning itself into 
diamond spray, that wreathed and fluttered in 
gleaming threads like a bridal veil streaming 
on some mild May breeze. The shining shafts 
of water gave back the ghastly light as huge 
mirrors might, and from the dark depths of 
foliage on the opposite bauk and the lofty 
aisles of pine-clad hills stretching far westward 
and overtopping all, the deep solemn monotone 
of the everlasting Fall echoed and re-echoed, 
chanting to the quiet night a sacred " in cceie 
quies." 

Standing with uncovered head in the weird 
light, Russell's piercing eyes were fixed on his 
companion. 

" You do not know why I came here, Miss 
Huntingdon ?" 

" You told me why." 

" No. But you shall know. I came here 
overmastered by some ' Imp of the Perverse,' 
led by an irresistible desire to see you alone, 
to look at you, to tell you what I have almost 
sworn should never pass my lips — what you 
may consider unmanly weakness — nay, insani- 
ty, on my part. We are face to face at last, 
man and woman, with the golden bars of con- 
ventionality and worldly distinction snapped 
asunder. I am no longer the man whom 
society would fain flatter, in atonement for 
past injustice ; and I choose to forget, for the 
time, that you are the daughter of my bitterest 
deadly foe — my persistent persecutor. I re- 
member nothing now but the crowned days of 
our childhood, the rosy dawn of my manhood, 
where your golden head shone my Morning 
Star. I hurl away all barriers, and remember 
only the one dream of my life — my deathless, 
unwavering love for you. Oh, Irene ! Irene ! 
why have you locked that rigid cold face of 
yours against me V In the hallowed days of 
old you nestled your dear hands into mine, 
and pressed your curls against my cheek, and 
gave me comfort in your pure, warm, girlish 
affection ; how can you snatch your frozen 
fingers from mine now, as though my touch 
were contamination 1 Be yourself once more 
— give me one drop from the old over-flowing 
fountain. 1 am a lonely man ; and my proud, 



130 



MACAEIA. 



bitter heart hungers for one of your gentle 
words, one of your sweet, priceless smiles. 
Irene, look at rne ! Give it to me i" 

He sat down on the step at her feet and 
raised his dark magnetic face, glowing with 
the love which had so long burned undimmed, 
his lofty full forehead wearing a strange flush. 
She dared not meet his eye, and drooped 
her head on her palms, shrinking from the 
scorching furnace of trial, whose red jaws 
yawned to receive her. He waited a moment, 
and his low, mellow voice rose to a stormy 
key. 

" Irene, you are kind and merciful to the 
poor wretches in the Row. Poverty — nay, 
crime, does not frighten away your compassion 
for them ; why are you hard and cruelly 
haughty only to me ?" 

" You do not need my sympathy, Mr. Au- 
brey, and congratulations on your great success 
would not come gracefully from my lips. Most 
unfortunate obstacles long since rendered all 
intercourse between us impossible, still my 
feeling for you has undergone no change. I 
am, I assure you, still your friend." 

It cost her a powerful effort to utter these 
words, and her voice took a metallic tone 
utterly foreign to it. Her heart writhed and 
bled and moaned in the gripe of her steely 
purpose, but she endured all calmly — relaxing 
not one jot of her bitter resolution. 

" My friend ! Mockery ! God defend me 
from such henceforth. Irene, I looked at you 
to-night in all your wonderful, incomparable 
loveliness as you hung upon the arm of your 
acknowledged lover, and the possibility of your 
becoming that man's wife absolutely maddened 
me. I felt that I could never endure that 
horrible reality, and I resolved to know the 
truth. Other lips deceive, but yours never 
can. Tell me, have you promised your hand 
to Bainbridge ? Will you ever give it to 
him V" 

" Such questions, Mr. Aubrey, y.ou have no 
right to propound." 

" Eight ! does my worshipping love give me 
no right to relieve myself from torture, if pos- 
sible 'i Oh ! relentless, beautiful idol, that 
you are 1 I have cheated myself with a 
heavenly dream — have hugged to my soul the 
hope that, after all, I was more to you than 
you designed to show — that far down in your 
proud heart you, too, cherished memories of 
other days. Irene, you loved me once — nay, 
don't deny it ! You need not blush for the 
early folly which, it seems, you have interred 
so deeply ; and though you scorn to meet me 
even as an equal, I know, I feel, that I am 
worthy of your love — that I comprehend your 
strange nature as no one else ever will — that, 
had such a privilege been accorded me, I could 
h;ive kindled your heart, and made you su- 
premely happy. Cursed barriers have divided 
us always ; fate denied me my right. I have 
suffered many things ; but does it not argue, 



at least, in favor of nxy love, that it has sur- 
vived all the trials to which your father's hate 
has subjected me? To-night I could forgive 
him all ! all ! if I knew that he had not so 
successfully hardened, closed your heart against 
me. My soul is full of bitterness which would 
move you, if one trait of your girlish nature 
remained. But you are not my Irene ! The 
world's queen, the dazzling idol of the ball- 
room, is not my blue-eyed, angelic Irene of 
old! I will intrude upon you no longer. Try 
at least not to despise me for my folly ; I will 
crush it; and if you deign to remember me at 
all in future, think of a man who laughs at his 
own idiotcy and strives to forget that he ever 
believed there lived one woman who would be 
true to her own heart, even though the heavens 
fell and the world passed away !" 

He rose partially, but her hand fell quickly 
upon his shoulder and the bowed face lifted 
itself, stainless as starry jasmines bathed in 
equatorial dews. 

" Mr. Aubrey, you are too severe upon 
yourself and very unjust to me. The circum- 
stances which conspired to alienate us were 
far beyond my control; I regret them as sin- 
cerely as you possibly can, but as unavailingly. 
If I have individually occasioned you sorrow 
or disappointment, God knows it was no fault 
of mine ! We stand on the opposite shores of 
a dark, bridgeless gulf; but before we turn 
away to be henceforth strangers, I stretch out 
my hand to you in friendly farewell — deeply 
regretting the pain which I may have inno- 
cently caused you and asking your forgiveness. 
Mr. Aubrey, remember me as I was, not as I 
am. Good-by, my friend. May God bless you 
in coming years and crown your life with the 
happiness you merit, is the earnest prayer of 
my heart." 

The rare blue cord on her brow told how 
fiercely the lava-flood surged under its icy 
bands, and the blanched lip matched her 
cheek in colorlessness ; save these tokens of 
anguish, no other was visible. 

Russell drew down the hand from his 
shoulder and folded it in both his own. 
» " Irene, are we to walk different paths 
henceforth — utter strangers ? Is such your 
will V" 

" Such is the necessity which must be as 
apparent to you as to me. Bo not doubt my 
friendship, Mr. Aubrey ; but doubt the pro- 
priety of my parading it before the- world." 

He bent his cheek down on her cold hand, 
then raised it to his lips once, twice — laid it 
back on her lap, and, taking his hat, walked 
away toward town. 

Two blithe crickets chirped merrily some- 
where in the brick pavement round the door ; 
a solitary mocking-bird, perched on the limb 
of a neijjhborinsr china-tree, warbled his sweet 
varied notes as if in answer: the mellow 
diapason of the Falls rose soothingly over all, 
and the blue-robed woman sat still as the stone 



MACARIA. 



131 



steps of tlie Factory, watching the vanishing 
dying sparkles of a crystal draught of joy 
which Fate had rudely dashed at her feet, 
sternly denying the parched eager lips. 

For some time she remained just as Russell 
had left her, then the white arms and dry 
eyes were raised to the midnight sky. 

" My God ! my God ! strengthen me in my 
desolation I" 

She put back the folds of hair that, damp 
■with dew, clung to her gleaming temples, and 
recrossing the wide road or street, entered 
the chamber of death. Low-spoken words 
crept to and fro between Mrs. Martin and two 
middle-aged, sad-faced women of the Sow, 
who sat around the candle on the little pine 
table, clipping and scalloping a jaconet shroud. 
As Irene approached the scissors rested and 
all looked up. 

" Where "is Philip, Mrs. Martin ? I shall 
ask him to walk home with me, and not wait 
for the carriage." 

" I expect he is asleep, Miss Irene — but I 
will wake him." 

" You need not ; I think I hear wheels. 
Yes ; they are coming for me. Mrs. Martin, 
I will see you about Susan and Johnnie to- 
morrow or next day ; meantime, I leave them 
in your care. Good-night." 

" What a white angel she is ! — almost as 
pale as the poor creature on the bed yonder. 
I catch my breath sometimes when she looks 
like she did just now." 

All three sighed simultaneously, and the 
dull click, click, began again. 

It was not the carriage which Irene met at 
the door, but Dr. Arnold's buggy. 

" Irene, are you ready to go home ?" 

" Yes. Mrs. Davis is dead." 

"As I was leaving Mrs. ChurchhilPs your 
father told me where you were, and I thought, 
I would come after you. Put on your shawl 
and jump in. You are in a pretty plight, 
truly, to stand over a death-bed ! ' Vanity of 
vanities ! all is vanity !' Here, let me wrap 
that gauze cloud around your head. Now 
then !" 

The top of the buggy had been lowered, and 
as they rode homeward she leaned her head 
back, turning her face to the sickly moonlight. 

"Irene, did Aubrey come up here with 
you ?" 

" No, sir. He was at the Row for a while, 
however. You must have met him returning." 

" I did ; what did he want here V" 

" You must ask him if you axe curious. It 
is no business of either yours or mine to watch 
his movements." 

" I wonder he was able to tear himself from 
that brown Sybil, Salome. What a splendid 
dark pair they will be some day, when he 
makes her Mrs. Aubrey !" 

Surgeon-like, he was pressing his finger 
heavily on the wound, but no flinching could 
be detected— no moan of pain ; and he was 



startled by a singular short, quick laugh, which 
sounded to his ear like the sudden snapping 
of a musical string. It was the first time he 
had heard her laugh since her return from New 
York. 

" Sage of Sinope ! how long since your trans- 
migration into a latter-day news-monger '?" 

" News-monger be hanged ! It is a trans- 
parent fact that Aubrey intends to marry the 
daughter of Herodias. Don't you believe it, 
Irene ?" 

" Doctor, I believe I have dropped my 
bouquet-holder. I am sorry to give you so 
much trouble, but Uncle Eric bought it for me 
in Geneva, and I should dislike to lose it. 
Give me the reins. Yonder it is, in the sand — 
I see its glitter." 

Fulminating inaudible plagues on the chased 
silver toy, the doctor picked it up and placed 
it in her hand. 

" Drop yourself out next, won't you, when 
you have another question to dodge '?" 

" What is the matter ? Who has fretted 
you, sir ? Were you cheated out of your 
supper by coming after me ?" 

" You fret me beyond all patience— slipping 
everlastingly through my fingers. Child, an- 
swer me one thing truly ; are you going to 
marry Bainbridge, as everybody believes, and 
as Leonard led me to suppose V" 

" No, Dr. Arnold ; I shall never marry Mr. 
Bainbridge." 

" If he does not suit your fastidious taste, 
pray who will, Queen ?" 

" You might, perhaps, if you were thirty- 
five years younger, and a trifle less surly. 
Doctor, come in, and let me give you a glass 
of wine ; it is very late and you must be tired." 

" No — but I will light my pipe at the hall- 
lamp." 

They went into the house, and as he filled 
and lighted his pipe his cavernous eyes ran 
curiously over her." 

" How you have blazed to-night ! Your 
diamonds are superb." 

"Yes, sir." ( 

" Go to sleep at once, child. You look as if 
you had seen a ghost. What has knotted up 
your forehead in that style ?" 

" I have looked upon a melancholy death 
to-night, and have seen two helpless children 
orphaned. Come and see me soon ; I want to 
consult you about an orphan-asylum for which 
father has given me a lot. Good-night, sir ; I 
am very much obliged to you for your kindness 
in bringing me home. Nobody else is half so 
considerate and thoughtful." 

In her own room she took off the jewels, 
withered violets, and moist tulle — and, drawing 
on her dressing-gown, went up to the observa- 
tory and sat down on the threshold of one of 
the glass doors looking eastward. 

" Think of a man who laughs at his owi 
idiotcy and strives to forget that he ever 
believed there lived one woman who would te 



132 



MACAEIA. 



true to her own heart, though the heavens 
fell and the world passed away !" 

These words of scorn were the burning 
shares over which her bare feet trod, and his 
bitter accents wailed up and down her lonely 
heart, mournful as the ceaseless cry of " El 
Alma Pcrdida" in moonless, breezeless Ama- 
zonian solitudes. Through the remainder of 
that cloudless night she wrestled silently — not 
like the Jewish patriarch, with angels — but 
with Despair, grim as Geryon. At last, when 
the sky flushed rosily, like an opal smitten 
with light, and holy Resignation — the blessing 
born only of great trial like hers — shed its 
heavenly chrism over the worn and weary, 
bruised and bleeding spirit, she gathered up 
the mangled hopes that might have gladdened 
and gilded and glorified her earthly career, 
and pressing the ruins to her heart, laid her- 
self meekly down, offering all upon the God- 
built altar of Filial Obedience. 

In the 

" . . early morning, when the air 

Was delicate with some last starry touch," 

she opened the door of her father's room and 
approached the bed. The noise wakened 
him, and, raising himself on his elbow, he 
looked wonderiagly at her. 

" What is the matter, Irene ? You look as 
if you had not closed your eyes." 

" Father, you took me in your arms last 
nicht, and kissed me as you have not done 
before for years ; but I feared that when Mr. 
Bainbridge" told you what passed between us 
at Mrs. Churchhill's you would again close 
your heart against me. Do not ! oh, do not ! 
Because I prefer to remain at home with you 
rather than accept his brilliant offer, ought 
you to love me less ? I have spent a sorrow- 
ful, a wretched night, and, like a weary child, 
I have come to you to find rest for my heart. 
Oh, Father ! my father ! do not cast me off 
again ! Whom have I in the world but you ? 
By the memory of my sainted mother I ask — 
I claim your love !" 

" You are a strange girl, Irene ; I never did 
understand you. But I don't want to drive 
you from me if you prefer to live here single. 
There shall be peace between us, my dear 
daughter." He leaned forward and laid his 
hand caressingly on her head as she knelt at 
his bedside pleading with uplifted arms. 

" And her face is lily-clear. 
Lily-shaped and dropped in duty 
To the law of its own beauty. 
And a forehead, fair and saintly, 
Which two blue eyes undersbine 
Like meek prayers before a shrine." 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

The treacherous four years lull was broken 
at last by the mutter of the storm which was 
s» soon to sweep over the nation, prostrating 



all interests and bearing desolation to almost 
every hearthstone in our once happy, smiling 
land of constitutional freedom. Sleepless 
watchmen on the tower of Southern Rights — 
faithful guardians, like William L. Yancey, 
who had stood for years, in advance of public 
opinion, lifting their warning voices far above 
the howling waves of popular faction and 
party strife, pointing to the only path of safe- 
ty—now discerned the cloud upon the hori- 
zon, and at the selection of delegates to the 
Charleston Convention hedged our cause with 
cautious resolutions. Among the number ap- ' 
pointed was Russell Aubrey ; and during the 
tempestuous debates which ushered in the war 
of 1861 his earnest, eloquent pleadings on the 
question of a platform rang through his state, 
touching the master-chord that thrilled re- 
sponsive in the great heart of the people. 
When demagogism triumphed in that conven- 
tion, and the Democratic party was rent into 
hopeless fragments, Russell returned, to stump 
the state in favor of the only candidate whom 
he believed the South could trust with her lib- 
erties ; and during the arduous campaign that 
ensued, he gathered fresh laurels and won a 
brilliant reputation. Aside from individual 
ambitious projects, the purest patriotism nerv- 
ed him to his ceaseless labors. He was deeply 
impressed with the vital consequences of the 
impending election ; and as the conviction 
forced itself upon his mind that, through the 
demoralization of the Northern wing of De- 
mocracy, Lincoln -would be elected, he en- 
deavored to prepare the masses for that final 
separation which he foresaw was inevitable. 
During that five months campaign faction, 
fanaticism, demasoarism, held high revel — ran 
riot through the land. Seward cantered tow- 
ard Washington on the hobby labelled Eman- 
cipation, dragging Lincoln at his heels ; and 
Breckinridge, our noble standard-bearer, with 
the constitution in his hand, pressed on to save 
the sacred precincts of the capitol from poilu-, 
tion. The gauntlet had been thrown down by 
the South at Charleston and Baltimore : " The 
election of a sectional President will be the 
signal for separation." The North sneered at 
the threat, derided the possibility, and in fran- 
tic defiance the die was cast. The 6 th of 
November dawned upon a vast populous em- 
pire, rich in every resource, capable of the 
acme of human greatness and prosperity, 
claiming to be the guardian of peaceful liberty. 
It set upon a nation rent in twain, between 
whose sections yawned a bottomless, bridgeless 
gulf, where the shining pillars of the temple 
of Concord had stood for eighty years ; and a 
grating sound of horror shuddered through the 
land as the brazen, blood-clotted doors of 
Janus flung themselves suddenly wide apart. 
Lincoln was elected. Abolitionism, so long 
adroitly cloaked, was triumphantly clad in 
robes of state — shameless now, and hideous ; 
and while the North looked upon the loathsome 



MACAEIA. 



133 



face of its political Mokaima, the South pre- 
pared for resistance. 

No surer indication of the purpose of the 
Southern people could have been furnished 
than the temper in which the news was re- 
ceived. No noisy outbursts, expending resolve 
in empty words — no surface excitement — but 
a stern calm gloom, set lips, heavy bent brows, 
appropriate in men who realized that they had 
a revolution on their hands; not indignation- 
meetings, with fruitless resolutions — that they 
stood as body-guard for the liberty of the Re- 
public, and would preserve the trust at all 
hazards. It would seem that, for a time at 
least, party animosities would have been crush- 
ed ; but, like the Eumenides of Orestes, they 
merely slept for a moment, starting up wolfish 
and implacable as ever ; and even here, in 
many instances, the old acrimony of feeling 
showed itself. Bitter differences sprung up at 
the very threshold on the modus operandi of 
Southern release from Yankee-Egyptic bond- 
age. Separate " state action " or " co-opera- 
tion " divided the people, many of whom were 
earnestly impressed by the necessity and ex- 
pediency of deliberate, concerted, simultane- 
ous action on the part of all the Southern 
states, while others vehemently advocated this 
latter course solely because the former plan 
was advanced and supported by their old op- 
ponents. In this new issue, as if fate persist- 
ently fanned the flame of hate between Mr. 
Huntingdon and Russell Aubrey, they were 
again opposed as candidates for the State Con- 
vention. Ah ! will the ghost of Faction ever 
be laid in this our republican land ? Shall 
this insatiate immemorial political Fenris for 
ever prey upon the people ? 

W was once more convulsed, and 

strenuous efforts were made by both sides. 
Russell was indefatigabl-e in his labors for 
prompt, immediate state action, proclaiming 
his belief that co-operation was impracticable 
before secession ; and it was now that his re- 
searches in the dusty regions of statistics came 
admirably into play, as he built up his argu- 
ments on solid foundations of indisputable cal- 
culation. 

For the first time in her life Irene openly 
confronted her father's wrath on political 
grounds. She realized the imminence of the 
danger, dreaded the siren song of co-opera- 
tion, anddauntlessly discussed the matter with- 
out hesitation. The contest was close and 
heated, and resulted somewhat singularly in 
the election of a mixed ticket— two Secession- 
ists being returned, and one Co-cperationist, 
Mr. Huntingdon, owing to personal popularity. 

While the entire South was girding for the 
contest, South Carolina, ever the avant courrier 
in the march of freedom, seceded : and if 
doubt had existed before, it vanished now from 
every mind— for all felt that the gallant state 
must be sustained. Soon after, Russell and 
Mr. Huntingdon stood face to face on the floor 



of their own state convention, and wrestled 
desperately. The latter headed the opposi- 
tion, and so contumacious did it prove that, 
for some days, the fate of the state lay in dan- 
gerous equilibrium. Finally the vigilance of 
the Secessionists prevailed, and, late in the 
afternoon of a winter day, the ordinance was 
signed. 

Electricity flashed the decree to every por- 
tion of the state, and the thunder of artillery 
and blaze of countless illuminations told that 
the people gratefully and joyfully accepted 

the verdict. W was vociferous ; and as 

Irene gazed from the colonnade on the distant 
but brilliant rows of lights flaming along the 
streets, she regretted that respect for her 
father's feelings kept the windows of her own 
home dark and cheerless. 

Revolution is no> laggard, but swift-winged 
as Hermes ; and in quick succession seven sov- 
ereign states, in virtue of the inherent rights 
of a people acknowledging allegiance only to 
the fundamental doctrine that all just govern- 
ments rest on the consent of the governed, 
organized a provisional government, sprang, 
Pallas-like, upon the political arena, and claim- 
ed an important role in the grand drama of 
the nineteenth century. It was not to be ex- 
pected that a man of Mr. Huntingdon's known 
acerbity of temper would yield gracefully to a 
defeat against which he had struggled so earn- 
estly, and he submitted with characteristic sul- 
lenness. 

Great contrariety of opinion prevailed con- 
cerning the course of the Federal govern- 
ment — many deluding themselves with the 
belief that the separation would be peaceful. 
Rut Russell had stated his conviction at the 
time of Lincoln's election, that no bloodless 
revolution of equal magnitude had yet been 
effected, and that we must prepare to pay the 
invariable sacrificial dues which liberty in- 
exorably demands. 

So firm was this belief, that he applied him- 
self to the study of military tactics, in antici- 
pation of entering the army ; and many a mid- 
night found him bending over Hardee, Mahan, 
Gilham, Jomini, and Army Regulations. 

The 12th and 13th of April were days of 
unexampled excitement throughout the South- 
ern states. The discharge of the first gun 
from Fort Moultrie crushed the last lingering 
vestiges of " Unionism" and welded the entire 
Confederacy in one huge homogeneous mass 
of stubborn resistance to despotism. "With the 
explosion of the first shell aimed by General 
Beauregard against Fort Sumter burst the 
frail painted bubble of " Reconstruction," 
which had danced alluringly upon the dark 

surging billows of revolution. W ■ was 

almost wild with anxiety ; and in the afternoon 
of the second day of the bombardment, as 
Irene watched the avenue, she saw her father 
driving rapidly homeward. Descending the 
steps, she met him at the buggy. 



134 



MACARIA. 



" Beauregard Las taken Sumter. Anderson 
surrendered unconditionally. No lives lost." 

" Thank God 1" 

They sat down on the steps, and a moment 
after the roar of guns shook the atmosphere, 
and cheer after cheer went up the evening 
sky. 

"Act 1, of a long and bloody civil war," 
said Mr. Huntingdon, gravely. 

" Perhaps so, Father ; hut it was forced upon 
us. We left no honorable means untried to 
prevent it, and now it must be accepted as the 
least of two evils. Political bondage — worse 
than Russian serfdom— or armed resistance ; 
no other • alternative, turn it which way you 
will ; and the Southern people are not of stuff 
to deliberate as to choice in such an issue. 
God is witness that we have earnestly endeav- 
ered to avert hostilities — that the blood of this 
war rests upon the government at Washing- 
ton ; our hands are stainless." 

" I believe you are right, and to-day I have 
come to a determination which will doubtless 
surprise you." 

He paused, and eyed her a moment. 

"No, Father; I am not surprised that you 
have determined to do your duty." 

" How, Irene ? What do you suppose that 
it is ?" 

" To use Nelson's words, the Confederacy 
' expects that every man will do his duty ;' 
and you are going into the army." 

"Who told' you that?" 

" My own heart, Father ; which tells me 
what I should do were I in your place." 

" Well, I have written to Montgomery, to 
Clapham, to tender my services. We were at 
West Point together ; I served under him at 
Contreras and Chepultepec, and he will no 
doubt press matters through promptly. The 
fact is, I could not possibly stay at home now. 
My blood has been at boiling heat since yes- 
terday morning, when I read Beauregard's 
first dispatch." 

" Did you specify any branch of the ser- 
vice ?" 

" Yes ; I told him I preferred artillery. What 
is the matter ? Your lips are as white as cot- 
ton. Courage failing you already, at thought 
of grape, shell, and canister ?" 

A long shiver crept over her, and she shield- 
ed her face with her hands. When she met 
his eagle eye again her voice was unsteady. 



" Oh, Father 
might go with 
circumstances, 
how ? Surely 
father, even on 



if I were only a man, that I 

)-ou — stand by you under all 

Could n't you take me any- 

a daughter may follow her 

the battle-field ?" 



He laughed lightly, and swept his fingers 
over her head. 

" Could n't you learn a little common-sense, 
if' you were to try? Do you suppose I want 
all this gold braid of yours streaming in my 
face while I am getting my guns into position ? 
A pretty figure you would cut in the midst of 



my battery ! Really, though, Irene, I do not 
believe that you would flinch before all the 
cannon of Borodino. My blood beats at your 
heart, and it has never yet shown a cowardly 
drop. If you were a boy, I swear you would 
not disgrace my name in any conflict. By the 
way, what shall I do with you ? It won't dQ 
to leave you here all alone." 

" Why not, Father ? Home is certainly the 
proper place for me, if you cannot take me 
with you." 

" What ! with nobody but the servants ?" 

" They will take better care of me than 
anybody else. Nellie and Andrew and John 
are the only guardians I want in your absence. 
They have watched over me all my life, and 
they will do it to the end. Give yourself no 
trouble, sir, on my account." 

" I suppose your Uncle Eric will be home 
before long ; he can stay here till I come back 
— or — till the troubles are over. In the mean- 
time, you could be with the Harrises, or Hen- 
dersons, or Mrs. Churchhill." 

" No, sir ; I can stay here, which is infinitely 
preferable on many accounts. I will, with 
your permission, invite Mrs. Campbell to shut 
up the parsonage in her husband's absence 
and remain with me till Uncle Eric returns. 
I have no doubt that she will be glad to make 
the change. Do you approve the plan ?" 

" Yes. That arrangement will answer for 
the present, and Arnold will be here to take 
care of you." 

At the close of a week a telegraphic des- 
patch was received, informing Mr. Huntingdon 
of his appointment as major in the provisional 
army of the Confederacy, and containing an 
order to report immediately for duty. 

Some days of delay were consumed in 
necessary preparations for an indefinite ab- 
sence. Sundry papers were drawn up by 
Judge Harris— an old will was destroyed, a 
new one made — and explicit directions were 
reiterated to the overseer at the plantation. 
More reticent than ever, Irene busied herself 
in devising and arranging various little com- 
forts for her father, when he should be de- 
barred from the luxuries of home. No traces 
of tears were ever visible on her grave, com- 
posed face ; but several times, on coming sud- 
denly into the room, he found that her work 
had fallen into her lap and that her head was 
bowed down on her arms. Once he dis- 
tinguished low pleading words of prayer. 
She loved him with a devotion very rarely 
found between father and child, and this sep- 
aration cost her hours of silent agony, which 
even her father could not fully appreciate. 

Having completed his arrangements, and 
ordered the carriage to be in readiness at day- 
light next morning to convey him to the depot, 
he bade her good-night much as usual and 
retired to his own room. 

But thought was too busy to admit of sleep. 
He turned restlessly on his pillow, rose, and 



MACAEJA. 



135 



smoked a second cigar, and returned, to find 
himself more wakeful than ever. The clock 
down stairs in the library struck one ; his door 
opened softly, and, by the dim moonlight strug- 
gling through the window, he saw Irene glide 
to his bedside. 

" Why don't you go to sleep, Irene ?" 
" Because I can't. I am too miserable." 
Her voice was dry, but broken, faltering. 
" I never knew you to be nervous before ; I 
thought you scorned nerves ? Here, my 
daughter — take this pillow, and lie down by 
me." 

She put her arm about his neck, drawing 
his face close to hers, and he felt her lips 
quiver as they touched his cheek. 

"Father, when you know exactly where you 
are to be stationed, won't you let me come and 
stay somewhere in the vicinity, where I can 
be with you if you should be wounded ? Do 
promise me this ; it will be the only comfort I 
can have." 

" The neighborhood of an army would not 
be a pleasant place for you ; beside, you could 
do me no good even if I were hurt. I shall 
have a surgeon to attend to all such work 
much better than your inexperienced hands 
could possibly do it. I am surprised at you, 
Irene ; upon my word, I am. I thought you 
wanted me to go into service promptly ?" 

" So I do, Father. I think that every man 
in the Confederacy who can leave his family 
should be in our army ; but a stern sense of 
duty does not prevent people from suffering 
at separation and thought of danger. I should 
be unworthy of my country if I were selfish 
enough to want to keep you from its defence ; 
and yet I were unworthy of my father if I 
could see you leave home, under such circum- 
stances, without great grief. Oh ! if I could 
only go with you ! But to have to stay here, 
useless and inactive !" 

" Yes — it is bad to be obliged to leave you 
behind, but it can't be helped. I should feel 
much better satisfied if you were married and 
had somebody to take care of you in case any- 
thing happens to me. It is your own fault that 
you are not ; I never could understand what 
possessed you to discard Bainbridge. Still, 
that is past, and I suppose irreparable, and 
now you must abide by your own choice." 

'.' I am satisfied with my choice ; have no 
regrets on any score, save that of your de- 
parture. But, Father, the future is dark and 
uncertain; and I feel that I want an assurance 
of your entire reconciliation and affection be- 
fore you go. I came here to say to you that I 
deep!}- regret all the unfortunate circumstances 
of my life which caused you to treat me so 
coldly for a season— that if in anything I have 
ever seemed obstinate or undutiful it" was not 
because I failed in love for you, but from an 
unhappy difference of opinion as to ray dutv 
under very trying circumstances. Father, my 
heart ached very bitterly under your estrange- 



ment — the very memory is unutterably pain- 
ful. I want your full, free forgiveness now for 
all the trouble I have ever occasioned you. 
Oh, Father ! give it to me !" 

He drew her close to him and kissed her 
twice. 

" You have my forgiveness, my daughter — 
though I must tell you that your treatment of 
poor Hugh has been a continual source of 
sorrow and keen disappointment to me. I 
never can forget your disobedience in that 
matter. I do not believe you will ever be 
happy, you have such a strange disposition; 
but, since you took matters so completely in 
your own hands, you have only yourself to 
reproach. Irene, I very often wonder whether 
you have any heart — for it seems to me that if 
you have, it would have been won by the de- 
votion which has been lavished on you more 
than once. You are the only woman I ever 
knew who appeared utterly incapable of love ; 
and I sometimes wonder what will become of 
you when I am dead." 

" God will protect me. I look continually 
to his guardianship. Father, do not be offend- 
ed if I beg you most earnestly to give some 
thought to Him who has blessed you so abun- 
dantly in the privileges of this world, and to 
prepare for that future into which you may be 
ushered, at any moment, from the battle-field. 
You have never allowed me to speak to you on 
this subject ; but oh, my dear father ! it is too 
solemn a question to be put aside any longer. 
If you would only pray for yourself, my mind 
would be eased of such a weight of anxiety and 
apprehension. Oh ! that the spirit of my 
mother may join in my prayers before the 
Throne in your behalf !" 

He unclasped her arm and turned his face 
away, saying, coldly : 

" Do you consider it your privilege to tell 
me that I am so wicked there is no hope for 
me in the next world, if there be. one ?"' 

" No ! no ! Father ! but it is enjoined, as the 
duty of even the purest and holiest, to acknowl- 
edge their dependence on God and to supplicate 
His mercy and direction. It is true, I pray con- 
stantly for you, but that is a duty which our 
Maker requires every individual to perform 
for himself. Do not be displeased, Father; if 
it were anything less than your eternal hap- 
piness I should not presume to question your 
conduct. I can only hope and t;-ust that your 
life will be spared, and that some day you will, 
without offence, suffer me to talk to you of 
what deeply concerns my peace of mind. I 
won't keep you awake any longer, as you have 
a tedious journey before you. Good-night, 
my dear father." 

She kissed him tenderly and left him, closing 
the door softly behind her. 

A spectral crescent moon flickered in the 
sky, and stars still burned in the violet Fa.-t, 
when the carriage drove to the door and Irene 
followed her father to the steps. 



136 



MACARIA. 



Even in that dim, uncertain gray light he 
could see that her face was rigid and haggard, 
and tears filled his cold brilliant eyes as he 
folded her to his heart. 

"Good-by, Beauty. Cheer up, my brave 
child ! and look on the bright side. After all. 
I may come back a brigadier -general, and 
make you one of my staff officers! You shall 
be my adjutant, and light up my office with 
your golden head. Take care of yourself till 
Eric comes, and write to me often. Good-by, 
my dear, my darling daughter." 

She trembled convulsively, pressing her lips 
repeatedly to his. 

" Oh, may God bless you, my father, and 
bring you safely back to me !" 

He unwound her arms, put her gently aside, 
and stepped into the carriage. 

William, the cook, who was to accompany 
him, stood sobbing near the door, and now 
advancing, grasped her hand. 

" Good-by, Miss Irene. May the Lord pro- 
tect you all till we come back !" 

" William, I look to you to take care of 
Father, and let me know at once if anything 
happens." 

-• I will, Miss Irene. I promise you I will 
take good care of Master, and telegraph you if 
he is hurt." 

He wrung her hand, the carriage rolled 
rapidly away, and the sorrow-stricken, tearless 
woman sat down on the steps and dropped her 
head in her hands. Old Nellie drew near, 
wiping her eyes and essaying comfort. 

" Don't fret so, child. When trouble comes 
it will be time enough to grieve over it. Mas- 
ter was in the Mexican war, and never had a 
scratch ; and maybe he will be as lucky this 
time. Don't harden' your face in that flinty 
way. You never would cry like other chil- 
dren, hut just set yourself straight up, for all 
the world like one ef the stone figures standing 
over your grandfather's grave. Try to come 
and take a nap ; I know you have n't shut 
your eyes this night." 

" No — I can't sleep. Go in, Nellie, and 
leave me to myself." 

The shrill scream of the locomotive rang 
through the still, dewy air, and between two 
neighboring hills the long train of cars dashed 
on, leaving a fiery track of sparks as it disap- 
peared around a curve. Oppressed with a 
horrible dread, against which she struggled in 
vain, Irene remained alone, and was only 
aroused from her painful reverie by the low 
musical cooing of the pigeons, already astir. 
As they fluttered and nestled about, she ex- 
tended her arms, and catching two of the 
gentlest to her heart, murmured, mournfully : 
'• Come, messengers of peace ! bring me 
resignation. Teach me patience and faith." 

The empty carriage came slowly up the 
avenue, as if returning from a funeral, and 
passed to the stable-yard ; birds chirped, twit- 
tered, sang in the wavering, glistening tree- 



tops ; the sun flashed up in conquering splen- 
dor, and the glory of the spring day broke upon 
the world. 

"'To-day thou girdest up thy loins thyself, 
And tj;oest where thou would'st : presently 
Others shall gird thee,' said the Iiord, ' to g© 
Where thou would'st not.' " 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

To those who reside at the convulsed throb- 
bing heart of a great revolution a lifetime 
seems compressed into the compass of days 
and weeks, and men and women are conscious 
of growing prematurely old while watching 
the rushing, thundering tramp of events, por- 
tentous with the fate of nations. W- ■ 

presented the appearance of a military camp 
rather than the peaceful manufacturing town 
of yore. Every vacant lot was converted into 
a parade-ground — and the dash of cavalry, 
the low, sullen rumbling of artillery, and the 
slow, steady tread of infantry echoed through 
its wide, haudsome streets. Flag-staffs were 
erected from public buildings, private resi- 
dences, and at the most frequented corners, 
and from these floated banners of all sizes, 
tossing proudly to the balmy breeze the new- 
born ensign of freedom — around which clus- 
tered the hopes of a people who felt that upon 
them, and them only, now devolved the sacred 
duty of proving to the world the capacity of a 
nation for self-government. In view of the 
iniquitous and impossible task which it had 
insanely set itself to accomplish, the govern- 
ment at Washington had swept aside all con- 
stitutional forms, in order to free its hands for 
the work of blood — had ultimated in complete 
despotism. The press was thoroughly muz- 
zled — freedom of speech was erased from the 
list of American privileges ; the crowded cells 
of Bastile Lafayette, MeHenry, and Warren 
wailed out to the civilized world that habeas 
corpus was no more ; and, terror-stricken at 
the hideous figure of Absolutism carved by the 
cunning fingers of Lincoln and Seward, and 
set up for worship at Washington, Liberty fled 
from her polluted fane and sought shelter and 
shrine on the banner of the Confederacy, in 
the dauntless, devoted hearts of its uncon- 
querable patriots. Fondly and proudly was 
the divinity guarded. Smiling flowery val- 
leys rang with pagans that rose high above the 
din of deadly strife — and rugged, lonely hills 
and purple mountains lifted themselves to the 
God of battle, like huge smoking altars red 
with the noble blood of slaughtered heroes. 
Loathing and detestation succeeded the old 
affection for the Federal government, and 
" Union " became everywhere the synonyme 
of political duplicity, despotism, and the utter 
abrogation of all that had once constituted 
American freedom and rendered the republic, 
in earlier years, the civil Pharos of Christen- 
dom. The Confederacy realized that the hour 



MACARIA. 



137 



had arrived when the historic Sphinx must 
find an CEdipus, or Democratic republican lib- 
erty would be devoured, swept away, with the 
debris of other dead systems. Lifting their 
eyes to God for blessing, the men of the South 
girded on their swords and 7-esolved, calmly 
and solemnly, to prove that QEdipus — to read, 
and for ever set at rest the haunting, vexing 
riddle. Another adjective than " Spartan" 
must fleck with glory the pages of future, his- 
torians, for all the stern resolution and self- 
abnegation of Rome and Lacedfemon had 
entered the souls of Southern women. Mothers 
closed their lips firmly to repress a wail of sor- 
row as they buckled on the swords of their 
first-born, and sent them forth with a " God- 
speed 1" to battle for the right ; fond wives 
silently packed their husbands' knapsacks, with 
hands that knew no faltering; and sisters, with 
tearless eyes, bent by the light of midnight- 
lamps over canteens which their thoughtful 
care covered for brothers who were to start to 
the scene of action on the morrow. A nation 
of laboring, nimble-fingered, prayerful-heart- 
ed, brave-spirited women, and chivalric, high- 
souled, heroic men, who bad never learned 
that Americans could live and not be free. 
Grant us our reward, O God ! the independ- 
ence of the land we hold so dear. 

W gave her young men liberally ; 

company after company was equipped, fur- 
nished with ample funds by the munificence of 
citizens who remained, and sent forward to 
Virginia, to make their breasts a shield for the 
proud old " Mother of Presidents." The bat- 
tle of Bethel was regarded as part of an over- 
ture to the opera of Blood, yclept " Subjuga- 
tion," and people watched in silence for the 
crimson curtain to rise upon' the banks of the 
Potomac. Russell Aubrey had succeeded in 
raising a fine full , company for the war, as 
contra-distinguished from twelve months vol- 
unteers ; and to properly drill and discipline 
it, he bent all the energy of his character. It 
was made the nucleus of a new regiment, re- 
cruits gathered rapidly, and when the regi- 
ment organized, preparatory to starting for 
Virginia, he was elected colonel, with Herbert 
Blackwell for lieutenant-colonel, and Charles 
Harris was appointed adjutant. They were 
temporarily encamped on the common between 
the railroad depot and Mr. Huntingdon's resi- 
dence, and from the observatory or colonnade 
Irene could look down on the gleaming tents 
and tht flag-staff that stood before the officers' 
quarters. Reveille startled her at dawn, and 
laiioo regularly warned her of the shortness of 
summer nights. As the fiery carriage-horses 
would not brook the sight of the encampment, 
she discarded them for a time, and when com- 
pelled to leave home rode Erebus, at no slight 
risk of her life — for he evinced the greatest 
repugnance to the sound of drum or fife. 

One afternoon she went over to the Row, 
and thenee to the Factory. A new company 



had been named in honor of her father ; uni- 
forms and haversacks were to be furnished, 
and Mr. Huntingdon had intrusted her with 
the commission. Selecting the cloth and ac- 
complishing her errand, she returned by way 
of the orphan-asylum, whose brick walls were 
rapidly rising under her supervision. One of 
the workmen took her horse, and she went 
over the building, talking to the principal me- 
chanic about some additional closets which she 
desired to have inserted. Dr. Arnold chanced 
to be passing, but saw Erebus at the gate, 
stopped, and came in. 

" I was just going up to the Hill to see you, 
Queen — glad I am saved the trouble. Here, 
sit down a minute; I will clear these shavings 
away. When did you hear from Leonard ?" 

" I had a letter yesterday. He was well, 
and on outpost duty near Manassas." 

" Well, I shall join him very soon." , 

" Sir ?" 

" I say I shall join him very soon ; don't you 
believe it ? Why should n't I serve my coun- 
try as well as younger men ? The fact is, I 
am going as surgeon of Aubrey's regiment. It 
would never do to have the handsome colonel 
maimed for life through the awkwardness of a 
new-fledged M.D. Miss Salome would spoil 
her superb eyes with crying — which catastro- 
phe would, doubtless, distress him more than 
the loss of a limb — eh, Irene ?" 

She looked at him, betraying neither sur- 
prise nor regret. 

" When will you leave W ?" 

" Day after to-morrow morning ; can't get 
transportation any sooner. Aubrey has re- 
ceived orders to report at once to General 
Beauregard. Child, have you been sick ?" 

" No, sir. I am glad you are going with the 
regiment ; very glad. Every good surgeon in 
the Confederacy should hasten to the front 
line of our armies. Since you leave home, I 
am particularly glad that you are going to 
Manassas, where you can be near Father." 

" Humph ! Do you suppose that I am a 
patent life- preserver against minie balls and 
grape-shot V" 

" I know you will do all that skill and affec- 
tion can suiiscest, and I shall feel much better 

CO ' 

satisfied." 

He mused a moment, watching her fur- 
tively. 

" I suppose you have heard of the perform- 
ance for to-morrow ?" 

" No, sir. To what do you allude ?" 

" The daughter of Herodias is preparing to 
dance." 

" I don't understand you, Doctor. 

" Oh, don't you, indeed? Well, then, she 
intends to pressnt a splendid regimental flag 
with her own brown hands ; and, as Aubrey is 
to, receive it, the regiment will march to Mrs. 
Churchhill's, where the speeches will be de- 
livered. Will you attend ? 

" Scarcely, I presume, as I am not invited. 



138 



MAC ARIA 



I knew that Salome was having an elegant 
flag made, but was not aware that to-morrow 
was appointed for the ceremony of presenta- 
tion." 

" Who will look after you when I am gone ? 
You are the only tie I have here. I can't 
bear to leave you." 

" I "dare say I shall get on very well ; and, 
beside, you, of course, must go and do your 
duty, no matter what happens." 

" But you will be so lonely and isolated till 
Eric comes." 

She smiled suddenly, strangely, yet with no 
tinge of bitterness. 

" That is nothing new. I have been solitary 
all my life." 

"And it is your own fault. You might have 
married liLe other people, and been happier." 

" You are mistaken in assuming that I am 
not happy in my home." 

" Hush, Irene ! hush ! I know the signs of 
true happiness, if I don't possess it myself. 
You never murmur ; oh, no ! — you are too 
proud ! You ' don't droop like some poor, 
weak, sickly souls ; oh, no ! — you are too stately 
and regal. You will live and die a model of 
reticent chill propriety ; and when you are 
in your shroud your placid, treacherous face 
will bear no witness that you were cheated out 
of your rights in this world." 

Again she smiled, and laid her hand on his. 

" What a pity you mistook your forte in 
early life ; with such a fertile imagination, not 
physic, but fiction, was your calling, When 
will you come to see me ? I want you to take 
a parcel to father for me ; and then I want to 
have a long talk." 

" I know what the long talk amounts to. 
You need not hold out any such rosy-cheeked 
apples of Sodom as a bait. I am coming, of 
course, after the flag-ceremonies, where I am 
expected. At one o'clock I will be at the 
Hill — perhaps earlier. Where now ?" 

" I must go by Mrs. Baker's to see about 
giving out some sewing for the ' Huntingdon 
Bines.' I can't do it all at home, and several 
families here require work. I shall expect 
you at one o'clock — shall have lunch ready for 
you. By the way, Doctor, is there anything I 
can do for you in the sewing line ? It would 
o-ive me genuine pleasure to make something 
for you, if you will only tell me what you need. 
Think over your wants." 

She had caught up her reins, but paused, 
looking at him. He averted his head quickly. 

" I will tell you to-morrow. Good-evening." 

Turning from the town, she took a narrow 
sandy road leading among low, irregular hills, 
and after passing a thicket of sweet-gum, bay, 
and poplar, that bordered a clear, brawling, 
rocky-bosomed stream which ran across the 
road, she rode up to a three-roomed log-house. 
Two small children, with anomalous bluish- 
white hair, were playing marbles in the pas- 
sage, and a boy, apparently ten years of age, 



was seated on the ground, whistling " Dixie " 
and making split baskets, such as are gener- 
ally used on plantations for picking cotton. 
He threw down his work and ran to open the 
gate, which was tied with a piece of rope. 

" How do you do, Hanson ? Is your mother 
at home ?" 

" Yes, ma'm." 

She gave him her bridle and enteted the 
house, in one of the rooms of which she found 
a tall, muscular, powerful-looking woman 
kneeling on the floor and engaged in cutting 
out work from a roll of striped cloth. Putting 
her grayish hair behind her ears, she paused, 
looked up, and, with scissors in hand, said, 
bluntly : 

" Be seated, Miss Irene. I have n't time, or 
I would get up. Lucinda, bring some water 
fresh from the spring, and if your grandmother 
is awake, tell her Miss Irene is here." 

" I see you have not finished your contract, 
Mrs. Baker." 

" Very nearly, ma'm. I will finish off and 
send in the last lot of these haversacks by 
twelve o'clock to-morrow. The captain was 
out to-day to hurry me up ; said the regiment 
had orders to leave day after to-morrow. I 
gave him my word he should have them by 
noon, and that is something I never break." 

" Have you heard from your husband since 
I saw you ?" 

A<rain the busy .scissors paused. 

" Not a word. But my boy, Robert, has 
had a terrible spell of fever in Lynchburg. I 
received a few lines from the doctor of the 
hospital yesterday. Thank God ! he was bet- 
ter when the letter was written. His father 
knows nothing of it. I can't find out exactly 
where Mr. Baker's company is. They are do- 
ing good service, I hope, somewhere — making 
their mark on the Union wretches in the Vir- 
ginia valley. I want to h6ar that my husband 
had a hand in burning Wheeling." 

" I believe you told me that you were from 
Virginia." 

" Yes, ma'm ; but not from that part of it, 
I want you to understand. I was born in 
Amelia, thank mv stars ! and that is as true as 
steel." 

" It must be a great trial to you to have 
your husband and son so far off, and yet sepa- 
rated." 

" Of course I hate to have them away, and 
times are hard for such a family as mine, with 
little means of support ; but I don't grieve. 
Every man has to do his duty now, and every 
woman, too. I told Stephen I thought I could 
take care of the children and myself 1 — that I 
would rather live on acorns, than that he 
should not serve his country when it needed 
him ; and I told Robert, when I fixed him off, 
that I never would die contented if he and his 
father did not both do something to distinguish 
themselves in this war. I am a poor woman, 
Miss Irene, but no soul loves the Confederacy 



MACARIA. 



139 



better than I do, or will work harder for it. 
I have 110 money to lend our government, but 
I give my husband and my child — and two 
better soldiers no state can show." 

" You have done your part nobly, and I 
trust both your dear ones will be spared and 
brought safely back to you. How is your 
mother to-day ?" 

" Very feeble. I was up nearly all night 
with her. She had one of her bad spells. 
Have some water ; it is sweet and cold." 
" Do you want any more work this week ?" 
" Yes ma'm ; I should like some after to- 
morrow. Do you know where I can get 
any?" 

" I can give you seventy-five flannel over- 
shirts, and the same number of haversacks ; 
but you could scarcely finish them all in time, 
and I thought I would send you the shirts and 
let Mrs. Pritchard take the haversacks." 

" I shall be very* glad to get them. You 
are not raising a company yourself, Miss 
Irene ?" 

" Oh, no ! but there is a new company 
named ' Huntingdon Rifles ' for my father, and 
he wishes to give them everything they need. 
When can you come in to see me about cut- 
ting out the shirts ?" 

" Day after to-morrow morning, quite early, 
if it will suit you." 

" That will suit me very well. Here is that 
remedy for asthma, which I mentioned to you 
once before. If you will try it faithfully, I 
have no doubt it will at least relieve your 
mother of much suffering. If you can't find 
the ingredients here, let me know, and I can 
get them from the plantation." 

As the kneeling figure received the slip of 
paper she rose, and tears gathered in the large 
clear gray eyes. 

" Thank you, Miss Irene ; it is very good of 
you to remember my poor old mother so con- 
stantly. I am afraid nothing will ever do her 
much good ; but I am grateful to you, and will 
try your remedy faithfully. I want to thank 
you, too, for the good you have done Hanson ; 
I never saw a boy so changed. He is up by 
daylight Sunday mornings, getting all things 
in trim, so that he can be off to Sabbath-school. 
I have always tried to teach my children to be 
honest and upright, but I am afraid I did not 
do my duty fully ; I am afraid they were neg- 
lected in some respects, till you began with 
them in Sabbath-school." 

" Your children all learn very readily, but 
Hanson is particularly bright. I am very glad 
to have him in my class ; he is one of my best 
pupils." 

As she went homeward a shadow fell upon 
her face — a shadow darker than that cast by 
the black plume in her riding-hat — and once 
or twice her lips writhed froiu their ordinary 
curves of beauty. Wearing the encampment 
she lowered her veil, but saw that dress-parade 
had been dismissed ; and as she shook the reins 



and Erebus quickened his gallop, she found 
herself face to face with the colonel, who had 
just mounted his horse and was riding toward 
town. She looked at him and bowed ; but, in 
passing, he kept his eyes fixed on the road be- 
fore him, and in the duskiness his face seemed 
colder and more inflexible than ever. Such 
had been the manner of their occasional meet- 
ings since the interview at the Factory, and 
she was not surprised that this, her first greet- 
ing, was disregarded. The public believed 
that an engagement existed between him and 
Salome, and the attentions heaped, upon him 
by the family of the latter certainly gave color 
to ,the report. But Irene was not deceived ; 
she had learned to understand his nature, and 
knew that his bitterness of feeling and studied 
avoidance of herself betokened that the old 
affection had not been crushed. Struggling 
with the dictates of her heart and a sense 
of the respect due to her father's feelings, she 
passed a sleepless night in pacing the gallery 
of the observatory. It was a vigil of almost 
intolerable perplexity and anguish. Under 
all its painful aspects she patiently weighed 
the matter, and at sunrise next morning, 
throwing open the blinds of her room, she 
drew her rose-wood desk to the window, and 
wrote these words : 

" Col. Aubrey : 

" Before you leave W allow me to 

see you for a few moments. If your depar- 
ture is positively fixed for to-morrow, come to 
me this afternoon, at any hour which may 
be most convenient. 

" Respectfully, 

" Irene Huntingdon. 
"Huntingdon Hill, June, 1861." 

As the regiment prepared to march to Mrs- 
Churchhill's residence, the note was received 
from Andrew's hands. Returning his sword to 
its scabbard, the colonel read the paper twice, 
three times — a heavy frown gathered on his 
forehead, his swarthy cheek fired, and, thrust- 
ing the note into his pocket, he turned toward 
his regiment, saying hastily to the servant : 

" You need not wait. No answer is ex- 
pected." 

At the breakfast- table Irene opened a hasty 
missive from Salome, inviting her to be pres- 
ent at the presentation of the flag and beg- 
ging a few choice flowers for the occasion. 
Smiling quietly, she filled the accompanying 
basket with some of the rarest treasures of 
the greenhouse, added a bowl of raspberries 
which the gardener had just brought in, and 
sent all, with a brief line excusing herself from 
attending. 

The morning was spent in writing to her 
father, preparing a parcel for him, and in su- 
perintending the making of a large quantity 
of blackberry jelly and cordial for the use of 
the hospitals. 

About noon Dr. Arnold came and found her 



140 



MACARIA. 



engaged in sealing up a number of the jars, 
all neatly labelled. The day was warm ; she 
had pushed back her hair from her brow as 
she bent over her work ; the full sleeves were 
pinned up above the elbow, and she wore a 
white cheek-muslin apron to protect her dress 
from the resin and beeswax. 

" In the name of Medea and her Colchian 
caldron ! what are you about, Irene ?" 

" Fixing a box of hospital stores for you to 
take with you." 

" Fixing ! you Yankee ! crucify that word ! 
I detest it. Say arranging, getting up, putting 
in order, assresatins, conirlomeratinjr, or what 
you will, but save my ears from ' fixing !' How 
do I know that all that trash was n't boiled in 
a brass kettle and is not rank poison ?" 

" Because I always use a porcelain kettle, 
sir. Here is a glass ; try some of my ' trash.' 
I am determined to receive you ' cordially.' " 

" Take my advice, Queen, and never at- 
tempt another pun so long as life and reason 
are spared to you. It is an execrable, heath- 
enish, uncivil practice, which should be taboo- 
ed in all well-regulated respectable families. 
As a class, your punsters are a desperate, 
vinegar -souled set. Old Samuel Johnson 
treated the world to a remarkably correct es- 
timate of the whole sorry tribe. Just a half- 
glass more. You have spilled a drop on your 
immaculate apron. Well, your pun and your 
cordial are about on a par; not exactly either — 
for one has too much spice, and the other none 
at all." 

" Well, then, Fadladeen, I will reconsider, 
and send the box to a Richmond hospital." 

" No ; give it to me. The poor fellows who 
are to use it may not be so fastidious. How 
much longer do you intend to sit here ? I did 
not come to make my visit. to the pantry." 

" I have finished, sir. Let me wash my 
hands and I will give you some lunch in the 
dining-room." 

" No ; I lunched with the Israelites. Salome 
was brilliant as a Brazilian fire-fly, and pre- 
sented her banner quite gracefully. Aubrey 
looked splendidly in his uniform; was superbly 
happy in his speech — always is. Madam did 
the honors inimitably, and, in fine — give me 
that fan on the table — everything was decid- 
edly comme il faut. You were expected, and 
you ought to have gone ; it looked spiteful to 
stay away. I should absolutely like to see you 
subjected to 212° Fahrenheit, in order to 
mark the result. Here I am almost suffocating 
with the heat, which would be respectable in 
Soudan, and you sit there bolt upright, look- 
ing as cool as a west wind in March. Beauty, 
you should get yourself patented as a social 
refrigerator, ' Warranted proof against the 
dog-days.' What rigmarole do you want me 
to repeat to Leonard ?" 

" I have sent a parcel and a letter to your 
buggy. Please hand them to Father and tell 
him that I am well." 



" And what is to become of my conscience 
in the meantime ?" 

" Doctor, I might answer in the words of 
Raphael to the Prefect of Alexandria: 'What 
will become of it in any case, my most excel- 
lent lord ?' " 

" Humph, child ! I am not such ?. repro- 
bate, after all. But I am thankful I am not 
as some pharisees I know." 

She looked up in his harsh face to read its 
meaning. He leaned forward, seized her 
hands, and said hurriedly : 

" Do n't look so much like one of your own 
pigeons might, if you had coaxed it to come 
to you and then slapped it off. When I say 
bitter things you may be sure you are the last 
person in my thoughts. Straighten that bent 
lip; 1 did not allude to you, my starry priest- 
ess. I meant all that noisy crew down town, 
who—" 

" Let them rest ; neither you nor I have any 
interest in them. I wish, if you please, when 
you get to Manassas, that you would persuade 
Father to allow me to come, at least, as far as 
Richmond. You have some influence with 
him ; will you use it in ,my favor ?" 

" You are better off s at home ; you could 
possibly do no good." 

" Still I want to go. Remember, my father 
is all I have in this world." 

" And what have you elsewhere, Irene?" 
"My mother, my Saviour, and my God." 
" Are you, then, so very anxious to go to 
Virginia ?" he repeated, after a pause. 
" I am. I want to be near Father." 
" Well, I will see what I can do with him. 
If I fail, recollect that he is not proverbial for 
pliability. Look here — are you nervous? 
Your fingers twitch, and so do your ej'elids 
occasionally, and your pulse is twenty beats too 
quick." 

" I believe I am rather nervous to-day." 
" Why so ?" 

" I did not sleep last night; that is one cause, 
I suppose." 

" And the reason why you did not sleep ? 
Be honest with me." 

" My thoughts, sir, were very painful. Do 
you wonder at it, in the present state of the ■ 
country ?" 

" Irene, answer me one question, dear child ; 
what does the future contain for you ? What 
hope have you ? — what do you live for ?" 

" I have much to be grateful for — much that 
makes me happy ; and I hope to do some good 
in the world while I live. I want to be use- 
ful — to feel that I have gladdened some hearts, 
strengthened some desponding spirits, carried 
balm to some hearth-stones, shed some happi- 
ness on the paths of those who walk near me 
through life. There are seasons when I regret 
my incapacity to accomplish more ; but at such 
times, when disposed to lament the limited 
sphere of woman's influence, I am reminded 
of Pascal's grand definition : ' A sphere of 



MACARIA. 



141 



which the centre is everywhere, the circum- 
ference nowhere;' and I feel encouraged to 
hope that, after all, woman's circle of °action 
will prove as sublime and extended. Doctor, 
remember : 

" . No stream from i'ts 3ource 

Flows seaward, how lonely soever its course 
But what some laud id gladdened. No star ever rose 
And set. without influence somewhere. Who knows 
What earth needs from earth's lowest creature ? No life 
Can he pure in its purpose and strong in its strife 
And all life not be purer' and Stronger thereby." ' 

"But who pointed your aims and tauo-ht 
you these theories V" 

" The emptiness of my former life — the in- 
satiable yearning for solid, unalloyed happiness. 
1 enjoy society and cling to many social ties; 
but these alone could not content me. I love 
the world better for striving to be of some 
little use to it, and I should be pained to have 
anybody believe that I have grown misan- 
thropic or cynical, simply because I sometimes 
tire of a round of gayety, and endeavor to 
employ my time usefully and for the benefit 
of my race. 1 felt the pressure of the iron 
signet which the Creator set to his high com- 
missions for life-long human labor, and break- 
ing the spell of inertia that bound me, I have, 
in part, my reward. 

' . : . Get leave to work 

In this world, 't is the best you get at all ; 

i'or God, in cursing, gives us better gifts 

Than men m benediction. G-ud say* -sweat 

1'or foreheads ; men say -crowns;' and so we are crowned, 

Ay : gashed by some tormenting circle of steel 

Which snaps with a secret spring, bet work : get work ; 

lie sure 't is better than what j'ou work to get.' 

" God knows we do little enough for each other 
in this whirl of selfishness and grasping after 
gain." 

" Have you, then, fully resolved to remain 
single '<" 

- Why do you ask me that, Dr. Arnold ?" 

" Because you are dear to me, Queen ; and 
I should like to see you happily married before 
I am laid away in my grave." 

'• You will never see it. Be sure I shall live 
and die Irene Huntingdon." 

" What has induced you to doom yourself 
to a—" 

" Ask me no more, Doctor. If I am content 
with my lot, who else has the right to ques- 
tion ?'" 

He looked into that fair chiselled face and 
wondered whether she could be truly '• con- 
tent ;" and the purity and peace in her deep 
calm eyes baffled him sorely. She rose, and 
laid her hand on his shoulder. 

" Dr. Arnold, promise me that, if there is a 
battle, and Father should be hurt, you will tele- 
graph me at once. Do not hesitate — let me 
know the truth immediately. Will you V" 

'• i promise." 

" And now, sir, what can I make or have 
made for you, which will conduce to your 
comfort ?" 



" Have you any old linen left abput the 
house, that could be useful among the 
wounded ?" 

" I have sent off a good deal, but have some 
left. In what form do you want it ? As lint, 
or bandages ?" 

" Neither ; pack "it just as 'it is and send it 
on by express. I can't carry the world oti my 
shoulders." ' 

"Anything else ?" 

" Write to the overseer's wife to sow all the 
mustard-seed she can lay her hands on, and 
save all the sage she can. And, Irene, be 
sure to send me every drop of honey you can 
spare. "That is all, I believe. If I think of 
anything else I will write you." 

" Will you take Cyrus with you ?" 

" Of course. What guarantee have I that 
some villainous stray shell or shot may not 
ricochet and shave my head off? I shall take 
him along to drag me off the field in any such 
emergency ; for, if I am not a Christian myself, 
I want to be buried by Christian people — not 
by those puritanical golden-calf worshippers, 
of' ' higher-law ' notoriety." 

" I trust that, in the exercise of your pro- 
fessional duties, }'ou will be in no danger. 
Surgeons are rarely hurt, I believe." 

" Not so sure of that. Spherical-case or 
grape-shot have very little respect for scientific 
proficiency or venerable old age. One thing 
is certain, however — if anything happens to 
me Cyrus will bring me home ; and I want a 
quiet place near your lot in the cemetery, 
where j'our hands, Queen, will sometimes be 
about my grave. Ah, child, I have lived a 
lonely, savage sort of life, and spent little love 
on the world or the people about me. I have 
had neither wife nor children nor sister in my 
home to humanize me ; but you have always 
had a large share of my heart, and even Leon- 
ard can hardly love you better than I do. 
Think of me sometimes, Queen, and write te 
me freely. No eyes but mine will ever see 
your letters." 

He stood with his hands on her shoulders, 
speaking fa-lteringly ; and, unable to reply 
immediately, she turned her lips to the large 
brawny hand which had caressed her for 
twenty-five years. 

Making a great effort, she said pleadingly : 

" Dr. Arnold, when I pray for Father I 
always include you in my petitions. Do you 
never intend to pray for yourself?" 

" I should not 'know how to begin now, my 
child." 

" Words always come with will. Postpone 
it no longer. Oh, Doctor ! I beg of you to 
begin at once." 

Her lashes were heavy with unshed tears as 
she looked up in his face. 

" I have faith in your prayers, Queen, but 
not in my own. Pray for me always, dear 
child. God bless you ! my comfort, my li^ht, 
in a dark, troubled world of sin." 



142 



MACARIA. 



He stooped, kissed her forehead, and hurried 
out to his buggj'. 

She could not realize that he would be ex- 
posed to such imminent danger as many others 
— and, having concluded her packing and de- 
spatched the box to the depot, she wrote a few 
lines to a well known book-seller and sent 
Andrew to the store. An hour after he 
returned, bringing a package of small, but 
elegantly bound bibles. From among the 
number she selected one of beautiful, clear 
type, and taking it to her room locked herself 
in to escape all intrusion. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

The summer day was near its death, when 
Colonel Aubrey rode up the stately avenue, 
whose cool green arches were slowly filling 
with shadows. Fastening his spirited horse to 
the iron post, he ascended the marble steps, 
and John received his card and ushered him 
into the front parlor. The rich lace curtains 
were caught back from the wide windows to 
admit the air, and the whole room was flooded 
with subtle intoxicating perfume from nu- 
merous elegant vases of rare flowers, which 
crowned mantle, etagere, and centre-table. 
On a small papier-mache stand drawn before 
one of the windows stood an exquisite cut- 
glass bowl, fringed at the edge witli geranium 
leaves and filled with perfect golden-hearted 
water-lilies, whose snowy petals spread them- 
selves regally, breathing incense. The proud 
and moody visitor regarded them a moment, 
then his piercing eye ran around the room and 
rested upon a large oval picture on the oppo- 
site wail. This portrait of Irene had been 
painted soon after she left school, and repre- 
sented only the face and bust rising out of a 
luminous purplish mist — a face which might 
have served for Guido's Aurora. Clad in the 
handsome glittering unitbrm, which showed 
his nobly-proportioned and powerful figure so 
advantageously, the officer stood, hat in hand, 
the long sable plume drooping toward the 
floor ; and, as he scanned the portrait, his lips 
moved and these words crept inaudibly, mut- 
teringly, over them : 

" Behold her* there, 
As I beheld her ere she knew my heart ; 
My first, last love; the idol of my youth, 
The darling of my manhood, and alas ! 
Now the most blessed memory of mine age." 

The frown on his face deepened almost to a 
scowl, indescribably stern ; he turned abruptly 
away and looked through the open window 
out upon the lawn, where Hashes of sunshine 
and dusky shadows struggled for mastery. 
The next moment Irene stood at the door ; he 
turned his head, and they were face to face 
once more. 

Her dress was of swiss muslin, revealino- her 
dazzling shoulders and every dimple and 
curve of her arms. The glittering bronze 



hair was looped and fastened with blue rib- 
bons, and from the heavy folds her favorite 
clematis bells hung quivering with every 
motion, and matching, in depth of hue, the 
violets that clustered on her bosom. The 
crystal calmness of her countenance was 
broken at last ; a new strange light brimmed 
the unfathomable eyes and broke in radiant 
ripples round the matchless mouth. On the 
white brow, with its marble-like gleam, " pure 
lilies of eternal peace" seemed resting, as 

u She looked down on him from the whole 
Lonely length of a life. There were sad nights and days, 
There were long months and years, in that heart-search- 
ing gaze." 

Never had her extraordinary beauty so 
stirred his heart; a-faint flush tinged his cheek, 
but he bowed frigidly, and haughtily his words 
broke the silence. 

" You sent for me, Miss Huntingdon, and I 
obeyed your command. Nothing less would 
have brought me to your presence." 

She crossed the room and stood before him, 
holding out both hands, while her scarlet lips 
fluttered perceptibly. Instead of receiving 
the hands he drew back a step and crossed 
his arms proudly over his chest. She raised 
her fascinating eyes to his, folded her palms 
together, and, pressing them to her heart, said 
slowly and distinctly : 

" I heard that you were ordered to Virginia, 
to the post of danger ; and, knowing to what 
risks you will be exposed, I wished to see you 
at least once more in this world. Perhaps the 
step I am taking may be condemned by some, 
as a deviation from the delicacy of my sex — I 
trust I am not wanting in proper appreciation 
of what is due to my own self-respect — but the 
feelings which- 1 have crushed back so long 
now demand utterance. Russell, I have de- 
termined to break the seal of many years 
silence — to roll away the stone from the sepul- 
chre — to tell you all. I feel that you and I 
must understand each other before we part 
for all time, and, therefore, I sent for you." 

She paused, drooping her head, unable to 
meet his searching steady black eyes riveted 
upon hers ; and, drawing his tall athletic fig- 
ure to its utmost height, he asked defiantly : 

" You sent for me through compassionate 
compunctions, then — intending, at the close, 
to be magnanimous, and in lieu of disdain, tell 
me that you pity me V" 

" Pity you ? No, Russell ; I do not pity 
you." 

" It is well. I neither deserve nor desire 
it." 

" What motive do you suppose prompted 
me to send for you on the eve of your depart- 
ure ?" 

" I am utterly at a loss to conjecture. I 
once thought you too generous to wish to 
inflict pain unnecessarily on any one ; but 
God knows this interview is inexpressibly 
painful to me." 



MACAEIA. 



143 



A numbing suspicion crossed her mind, 
blanching lip and cheek to the hue of death, 
and hardening her into the old statue-like ex- 
pression. H#d he, indeed, ceased to love her ? 
Had Salome finally won her place in his 
heart V He saw, without comprehending, the 
instantaneous change which swept over her 
features and regarded her with mingled im- 
patience and perplexity. 

" If such be the truth, Col. Aubrey, the 
interview is ended." 

He bowed and turned partially away, but 
pau?ed irresolute, chained by that electrical 
pale face, which no man, woman, or child ever 
looked at without emotion. 

" Before we part, probably for ever, I should 
like to know why you sent for me." 

" Do you remember that, one year ago to- 
night^ we sat on the steps of the Factory, and 
you told me of the feeling you had cherished 
for me from your boyhood ?" 

" It was a meeting too fraught with pain 
and mortification to be soon forgotten." 

" I believe you thought me cold, heartless, 
and unfeeling then ?" 

" There was no room to doubt it. Your 
haughty coldness carried its own interpreta- 
tion." 

" Because I knew that such was the harsh 
opinion you had entertained for twelve months, 
I sought this opportunity to relieve myself of 
an unjust imputation. If peace had been 
preserved, and you had always remained quiet- 
ly here, I should never have undeceived you 
— for the same imperative reasons, the same 
stern necessity which kept me silent on the 
night to which I allude, would have sealed my 
lips through life. But all things are changed; 
you are going into the very jaws of death, 
with what result no human foresight can pre- 
dict ; and now, after long suffering, I feel that 
1 have earned and may claim the right to 
speak to you of that which I have always ex- 
pected to bury with me in my grave." 

Again her crowned head bowed itself. 

Past bitterness and wounded pride were in- 
stantly forgotten ; hope kindled in his dark, 
stern face a beauty that rarely dwelt there, 
and, throwing down his hat, he stepped for- 
ward and took her folded hands in his strong 
grasp. 

" Irene, do you intend me to understand — 
are you willing that I shall believe that, after 
all, I have an interest in your heart— that I am 
more to you than you ever before deigned to 
let me know ? If it, indeed, be so, oh ! give 
me the unmistakable assurance." 

Her lips moved ; he stooped his haughty 
head to catch the low, fluttering words. 

" You said that night : ' I could forgive your 
father all ! all ! if I knew that he had not so 
successfully hardened, closed your heart against 
me.' Forgive him, Russell. You never can 
know all that you have been to me from mv 
childhood. Only God, who sees my heart, 



knows what suffering our long alienation ha3 
coat me." 

An instant he wavered, his strong frame 
quivered, and then he caught her excitingly 
in his arms, resting her head upon his bosom, 
leaning his swarthy hot cheek on hers, cold 
and transparent as alabaster. 

" At last I realize the one dream of my life ! 
I hold you to my heart, acknowledged all my 
own ! Who shall dare dispute the right your 
lips have given me ? Hatred is powerless now ; 
none shall come between me and my own. 
Oh, Irene ! my beautiful darling ! not all my 
ambitious hopes, not ail the future holds, not 
time, nor eternity, could purchase the proud, 
inexpressible joy of this assurance. I have 
toiled and struggled, I have suffered in si- 
lence ; I have triumphed and risen in a world 
that sometimes stung my fiery heart almost to 
madness ; and I have exulted, I have gloried, 
in my hard-earned success. But ambition 
dims, and my laurels wither, in comparison 
with the precious, priceless consciousness of 
your love. I said ambition shall content me — 
shall usurp the pedestal where, long ago, I 
lifted a fair girlish image ; but the old worship 
followed, haunted me continually. I looked 
up from MS. speeches to find your incompara-. 
ble magnetic eyes before me ; and now, in the 
midst of bitterness and loneliness, I have my 
great reward. God bless you,' Irene ! for this 
one hour of perfect happiness in a cold and 
joyless life. If, when disappointed and baffled 
by your habitual polished reserve, I have said 
or done harsh, unjust things, which wounded- 
you, forgive me — -remembering only my love 
and my torturing dread that you would become 
Bainbridge's wife. Oh ! that was the most 
horrible apprehension that ever possessed me." 

" Instead of cherishing your affection for 
me you struggled against it with all the ener- 
g3' of your character. I have seen, for some 
time, that you were striving to crush it out — 
to forget me entirely." 

" I do not deny it ; and certainly you ought 
not to blame me. You kept me at a distance 
with your chilling, yet graceful, fascinating 
hauteur. I had nothing to hope— everything 
to suffer. I diligently set to work to expel 
you utterly from my thoughts ; and, I tell you 
candidly, I endeavored to love another, who 
was brilliant and witty and universally ad- 
mired. But her fitful, stormy, exacting tem- 
perament was too much like my own to suit 
me. I tried faithfully to become attached to 
her, intending to make her my wife, but I 
failed signally. My heart clung stubbornly to 
its old worship ; my restless, fiery spirit could 
find no repose, no happiness, save in the puri- 
ty, the profound marvellous calm of your na- 
ture. You became the synonyme of peace — 
rest ; and because you gave me no friendly 
word or glance, locking your passionless face 
against me, I grew savage toward you. Did 
you believe that I would marry Salome ?" 



144 



MACAEIA. 



" No ! I had faith that, despite your angry 
efforts, your heart would be true to me." 

" Why did you inflict so much pain on us 
both, when a word would have explained all ? 
When the assurance you have given me to- 
day would have sweetened the past years of 
trial?" 

" Because I knew it would not have that 
effect. I am constitutionally more patient 
than you, and yet, with all my efforts to be 
resigned to what could not be remedied and 
to bear my sorrow with fortitude, I found my- 
self disposed to repine; and, because 1 was so 
sure of your affection, to — 

" Cry to the winds, oh, God ! it might have been." 

A belief of my indifference steeled you against 
me — nerved you to endurance. But a knowl- 
edge of the truth would have increased your 
acrimony of feeling toward him whom you re- 
garded as the chief obstacle, and this, at all 
hazards, I was resolved to avoid. Russell, I 
knew that our relations could never be chang- 
ed ; that the barriers, for which neither you 
nor I are responsible in any degree, were in- 
surmountable ; and that, in this world, we 
must walk widely-diverging paths, exchang- 
ing few words of sympathy. Because I real- 
ized so fully the necessity of estrangement, I 
should never have acquainted you with my 
own feelings, had I not known that a long, 
and perhaps final, separation now stretches 
before us. In the painful course which duty 
imposed on me I have striven to promote your 
ultimate happiness, rather than my own." 

"Irene, how can you persuade yourself that 
it is your duty to obey an unjust and tyranni- 
cal decree, which sacrifices the happiness of 
two to the unreasonable vindictiveness of 
one?" 

"Remember that you are speaking of my 
father, and do not make me regret that I have 
seen you in his house." 

" You must not expect of me more forbear- 
ance than my nature is capable of. I have 
lost too much through his injustice to bear my 
injuries cooliy. I was never a meek man, and 
strife and trial have not sweetened my temper. 
If you love me, and the belief is too precious 
to me to be questioned now, I hold it your 
duty to me and to your own heart to give 
yourself to me, to gild- our future with the 
happiness of which the past has been cheated. 
Your father has no right to bind your life a 
sacrifice upon the altar of his implacable hate ; 
nor have you a right to doom yourself and me 
to life-long sorrow because of an ancient feud, 
which neither of us had any agency in effect- 
ing." 

" Duty, because inflexible and involving 
great pain, is not therefore less imperative. 
Russell, have you forgotten Chelonis V" 

lie tightened his clasping arms, and ex- 
claimed : 

" Ah, Irene ! I would willingly go into 



exile, with you for my Chelonis. Perish am- 
bition ! live only such a future. But you re- 
member nothing but Chelonis' filial obliga- 
tions, forgetting all she owed and all she nobly 
gave, Cleombrotus. If you would lay your 
hands in mine and give me his right, oh! 
what a glory would crown the coming years ! 
Irene, before it is too late, have mercy on us 
both." 

She lifted her head from his shoulder and 
looked up pleadingly in his flushed, eager 
face. 

" Russell, do not urge me ; it is useless. 
Spare me the pain of repeated refusals and be 
satisfied with what I have given you. Believe 
that my heart is, and ever will be, yours en- 
tirely, though my hand you can never claim. 
I know what I owe my father, and I will pay 
to the last iota; and I know as well what I 
owe myself, and, therefore, I shall live true to 
my first and only love and die Irene Hunting- 
don. More than this you have no right to 
ask — I no right to grant. Be patient, Rus- 
sell ; be generous." 

" Patient! patient! I am but human." 

" Rise above the human ; remember that, 
at best, life is short, and that after a little while 
eternity will stretch its holy circles before our 
feet. Such is my hope. I look down the 
lonely, silent vista of my coming years, whose 
niches are filled, not with joy, but quiet resig- 
nation — and I see beyond the calm shores of 
Rest, where, if faithful here, you and I may 
clasp hands for ever! To me this is no dim, 
shadowy, occasional comfort, but a fixed, firm, 
priceless trust." 

She felt the deep, rapid throbbing of his 
heart as he held her to his bosom ; and a dark 
cloud of sorrow settled on his features while 
he listened to her low, sweet, steady voice. 
He kissed her twice, and said huskily : 

11 Do you intend to send me from you ? To 
meet me henceforth as a straDger V" 

" Circumstances, which I can not control, 
make it necessary." 

" At least you will let ma hear from you 
sometimes ? You will give me the privilege 
of writing to you V" 

" Impossible, Russell ; do not ask that of 
me. ' 

" Oh, Irene ! you are cruel 1 Why withhold 
that melancholy comfort from me ?" 

" Simply for the reason that it would una- 
voidably prove a source of pain to both. I 
judge you by myself. A correspondence 
would keep your mind constantly harassed on 
a subject which time will inevitably soften, 
mellow ; and the expectation of letters from 
you would induce a feverish excitement and 
impatience in my own heart, which I wish to 
escape. It would feed useless regrets, and be 
productive only of harm. 1 want neither 
your usefulness in life nor mine impaired by 
continual weak repining. If I can patiently 
bear a great sea of silence between us hence- 



MACARIA. 



145 



forth, you certainly should be stronger ; should 
appreciate my motives, -without suspecting any 
diminution of affection on my part. If your 
life is spared I shall anxiously watch your 
career, rejoicing in all your honors and your 
noble use of the talents which God gave you 
for the benefit of your race and the advance- 
ment of truth. No matter how the world may 
deride, or cynics sneer at the supposition, I 
tell' you solemnly absence has no power over 
a true woman's heart. Her affection will 
triumph over separation, over silence, over 
death ! over everything but loss of confidence ;' 
over all but discovered unworthiness in its 
object. It can bid defiance to obstacles, to 
adverse fate, so long as trust remains intact 
and respect is possible ; that you will ever for- 
feit either I entertain no fear." 

" I am not as noble as you think me ; my 
ambition is not as unselfish as you suppose. 
Under your influence, other aims and motives 
might possess me." 

" You mistake your nature. Your intellect 
and temperament stamp you one of the few 
who receive little impression from extraneous 
influences ; and it is because of this stern, ob- 
stinate individuality of character that I hope 
an extended sphere of usefulness for you, if 
you survive this war. Our country will de- 
mand your services, and I shali be proud and 
happy in the knowledge that you are faithful- 
ly and .conscientiously discharging the duties 
of a statesman." 

J' Ah ! but the wages are hollow. My am- 
bition has already been gratified to some ex- 
tent, and in the very flush of triumph I sat 
down to eat its fruit, and smiled grimly over 
its dust and ashes." 

" Because self-aggrandizement was then the 
sole aim. But a holier, a more disinterested, 
unselfish ambition to serve only God, Truth, 
and Country will insure a blessed conscious- 
ness of well-spent years and consecrated tal- 
ents, comforting beyofld all else that earth can 
give." 

He shook his head sadly ; placing his palm 
under her chin and tenderly raising the face 
in order to scan it fully. 

" Irene, oblige me in what may seem a trifle ; 
unfasten your hair and let it fall around you 
as 1 have seen it once or twice in your life." 

She took out her comb, untied the ribbons, 
and, passing her fingers through the bands, 
shook them down till they touched the floor. 

He passed his hand caressingly over the 
glossy waves, and smiled proudly. 

" How often I have longed to lay my fingers 
on these rippling folds as they flashed around 
you so, or were coiled into a crown about your 
bead. With what a glory they invest you ! 
Your picture there upon the wall seems lighted 
with the golden gleam. Irene, give me a like- 
ness of yourself as you stand now, or, if you 
prefer it, have a smaller one photographed to- 
morrow from that portrait and send it to me 
10 



by express. I shall be detained in Richmond 
several days, and it will reach me safely. Do 
not, I beg of you, refuse me this. It is the 
only consolation I can have, and God knows it 
is little enough ! Oh, Irene ! think of my 
loneliness and grant this last request." 

His large brilliant eyes were full of tears, 
the first she had ever seen dim their light ; 
and, moved by the grief which so transformed 
his lineaments, she answered hastily : 

" Of course, if you desire it so earnestly, 
though it were much- better that you had noth- 
ing to remind you of me." 

" Will vou have it taken to-morrow ?" 
" Yes."' 

She covered her face with her hands for 
some seconds, as if striving to overcome some 
impulse ; then, turning quickly to him, she 
wound her arms about his neck and drew his 
face down to hers. 

" Oh, Russell ! Russell ! I want your promise 
that you will so live and govern yourself that, 
if your soul is,summoned from the battle-field, 
you can confront Eternity without a single 
apprehension. If you must yield up your life 
for freedom, I want the assurance that you 
have gone to your final home at peace with 
God. ; that you wait there for me ; and that, 
when my work is done, and I, too, lay my 
weary head to rest, we shall meet soul to soul 
and spend a blessed eternity together where 
strife and separation are unknown. In the 
realization of your ambitious dreams, I know 
that you have given no thought to these things ; 
and it was chiefly my anxiety to impress upon 
you their importance, their vital necessity, 
which induced me to send for you. Your 
hard, bitter heart must be softened ; you must 
try to overcome your vindictiveness ; to cher- 
ish more charity and forgiveness toward some 
who have thwarted you. Sometimes, in watch- 
ing your gloomy, stern face I have almost de- 
spaired that you would ever feel otherwise ; 
and many a night I have prayed fervently 
that yoM might be influenced to make some 
preparation for futurity. Oh, Russell ! I can 
be brave and strong and patient ; I can bear 
to see your dear face no more in this world ; 
I can <nve you up to our country, and not 
murmur that you died defending her liberties 

if I have the conviction that, in that noble 

death, you found the gate of heaven — that I 
shall meet you again when my God calls me 
home. Think of this when you leave me for 
the temptations of camp-life and go forth to 
scenes of strife and horror. Think of it by 
day and night, striving to subdue your heart 
in accordance with the precepts of Christ ; to 
exert a restraining, purifying influence over 
your command ; and remember, oh, remember, 
Russell ! that this is the only hope I have to 
cheer me. Will you promise to read the bible 
I give you now — to pray constantly for your- 
self? Will you promise to meet me beyond the 
grave ?" 



14S 



MACARIA. 



His black locks lay upon her forehead as he 
struggled for composure, and, after a moment, 
he answered solemnly : 

" I will try, my darling." 

She put into his hand the bible, which she 
had carefully marked, and which bore on the 
blank leaf, in her handwriting : " Colonel Rus- 
sell Aubrey, with the life-long prayers of his 
best friend." 

The shadow fled from her countenance, 
which grew radiant as some fleecy vapor sud- 
denly smitten with a blaze of sunlight, and 
clear and sweeter than chiming bells her voice 
rang through the room. 

" Thank God ! for that promise. I shall 
lean my heart upon it till the last pulsations 
are stilled in my coffin. And now I will keep 
you no longer from your regiment. I know 
that you have many duties there to claim your 
time. Turn your face toward the window ; I 
want to look at it, to be able to keep its 
expression always before me." 

.She put up her waxen hand, brushed the 
hair from his pale, dome-like brow, and gazed 
earnestly at the noble features, which even the 
most fastidious could find no cause to carp at. 

" Of old, when Eurystheus threatened Ath- 
ens, Maearia, in order to save the city and the 
land from invasion and subjugation, willingly 
devoted herself a sacrifice upon the altar of 
the gods. Ah, Ilussell ! that were an easy 
task, in comparison with the offering I am 
called upon to make. I can not, like Maearia, 
by self-immolation, redeem my country ; from 
that great privilege I am debarred ; but I yield 
up more than she ever possessed. I give my 
all on earth — my father and yourself— to our 
beloved and suffering country. My God ! 
accept the sacrifice, and crown the South a 
sovereign, independent nation ! Gladly, un- 
shrinkingly, would I meet a death so sublime ; 
but to survive the loss of those dearer far than 
my life, to live and endure such desolation — 
oh ! my lot, and that of thousands of my coun- 
trywomen, is infinitely more bitter than the 
fate of Maearia !" 

She smothered a moan, and her head sank 
on his shoulder ; but lifting it instantly, with 
her fathomless affection beaming in her face, 
she added : 

" To the mercy and guidance of Almighty 
God I commit you, dear Russell — trusting all 
things in His hands. May He shield you from 
suffering, strengthen you in the hour of trial, 
and reunite us eternally in His kingdom, is, 
and ever shall be, my constant prayer. Good- 
by, Russell ! Do your duty nobly ; win death- 
less glory on the battle-field in defence of our 
sacred cause ; and remember that your laurels 
will be very precious to my lonely heart." 

He folded her in his arms and kissed her 
repeatedly ; but, disengaging herself, she put 
him gently aside ; and, snatching up his hat, he 
left the room. He reached his horse, then 
paused, and returned to the parlor. 



The sun had set, but waves of rich orano-e 
light rolled through the window and broke 
over the white figure kneeling there half- 
veiled by curling hair. The clasped hands 
were uplifted and the colorless face was thrown 
back in silent supplication. He watched the 
wonderful loveliness of face and form till his 
pride was utterly melted ; and, sinking on his 
knees, he threw one arm around her waist, 
exclaiming : 

"Oh, Irene!. you have conquered! With 
God's grace I will so spend the residue of my 
life as to merit your love and the hope of re- 
union beyond the grave." 

She laid her hand lightly on his bowed head 
as he knelt beside her, and, in a voice that 
knew no faltering, breathed out a fervent 
prayer, full of pathos and sublime in faith- 
invoking blessings upon him — life-long guar- 
dianship, and final salvation through Christ. 
The petition ended, she rose, smiling through 
the mist that gathered over her eyes, and he 
said : 

" I came back to ask something which I feel 
that you will not refuse me. Electra will 
probably soon come home, and she may be left 
alone in the world. Will you sometimes go to 
see her, for my sake, and give her your friend- 
ship ?" 

" I will, Rulsell, for her sake, as well as for 
yours. She shall be the only sister I have ever 
known." 

She drew his hand to her lips, but he caught 
it away, and pressed a last kiss upon them. 

" Good-by, my own darling ! my life-angel !" 

She heard his step across the, hall ; a moment 
after, the tramp of his horse, as he galloped 
down the avenue, and she knew that the one 
happy hour of her life had passed— that the 
rent sepulchre of Silence must be resealed. 

Pressing her hands over her desolate heart, 
she murmured sadly : 

" Thy will, not mine, oh, Father ! Give me 
strength to do my work ; enable me to be 
faithful even to the bitter end." 



CHAPTER XXX. 

Strange heroic parallelisms startle the grave, 
reflecting student of history, and propound the 
inquiry : Is the Buckle theory of immutable 
cycles correct ? Is the throbbing, surging 
world of human emotions and passions but a 
mere arithmetical problem, to be solved through 
the erudition and astuteness of a Quetelet or 
Hassel, by an infallible statistical rule-of- 
three ? Has the relentless Necessity of Comte 
erected its huge mill on this continent, to 
grimly grind out the annual quantity of patriot- 
ism, tyranny, noble self-abnegation, or Mach- 
iavelism, in the prescribed, invariable ratio of 
" Sociology V" Is it that times make men and 
women, through dire necessity of individual 



MACARIA. 



147 



or national salvation, or will it be urged that 
sublime records of the past fire the soul to 
emulation and duplication of ancient heroism ? 
Davits sum non (Edipus. In 1781, when com- 
pelled to raise the Siege of Ninety- Six, it 
became very important that General Greene 
should communicate with Sumter. The inter- 
vening country was, however, so filled with 
British and Tories, and such dangers attended 
the mission, that no one could be found willing 
to undertake it. In this emergency, when 
even our patriots pf the first Revolution shrank 
back, Emily Geiger, only eighteen years of 
ace, volunteered to make the hazardous at- 
tempt, and received from General Greene a 
letter and verbal messages which he was ex- 
tremely desirous should reach their destination. 
Mounting a swift horse, she performed a por- 
tion of the journey in safety ; but was ulti- 
mately arrested by two Tories, who suspected 
that she might be rendering important, though 
clandestine, service to " the rebels." Swiftly 
and unobserved she swallowed the written 
despatch, and, baffled in their expectation of 
finding suspicious documents, they allowed her 
to proceed. Sumter's camp was safely reached, 
the messages were delivered, General Greene's 
army was reinforced, and soon became strong 
enouo-h to assume the offensive. Rawdon was 
forced to retreat, and Greene subsequently 
met and vanquished the British army at Eutaw 
Springs. Was not Emily Geiger's slender 
womanly hand instrumental in preparing for 
that battle, the results of which freed the 
Carolinas ? 

In July, 1861, when the North, blinded by 
avarice and hate, rang with the cry of " On to 
Richmond," our Confederate Army of the 
Potomac was divided between Manassas and 
Winchester, watching at both points the glit- 
tering coils of the Union boa-constrictor, which 
writhed in its efforts to crush the last sanctuary 
of freedom. The stringency evinced along 
the Federal lines prevented the transmission 
of despatches by the Secessionists of Mary- 
land, and for a time Generals Beauregard and 
Johnston were kept in ignorance of the move- 
ments of the enemy. Patterson hung dark 
and lowering around Winchester, threatening 
daily descent ; while the main column of the 
grand army under McDowell proceeded from 
Washington, confident in the expectation of 
overwhelming the small army stationed at 
Manassas. ' The friends of liberty who were 
compelled to remain in the desecrated old 
capital appreciated the urgent necessity of ac- 
quainting General Beauregard with the de- 
signs of McDowell and the arch-apostate, 
Scott ; but all channels of egress seemed seal- 
ed ; all roads leading across the Potomac were 
vigilantly guarded, to keep the great secret 
safely ; and painful apprehensions were in- 
dulged for the fate of the Confederate army. 
But the Promethean spark of patriotic devo- 
tion burned in the hearts of Secession women ; 



and, resolved to dare all things in a cause so 
holy, a young lady of Washington, strong in 
heroic faith, offered to encounter any perils, 
and pledged her life to give Gen. Beauregard 
the necessary information. Carefully conceal- 
ing a letter in the twist of her luxuriant hair, 
which would escape detection even should she 
be searched, she disguised herself effectually, 
and, under the mask of a market-woman, drove 
a cart through Washington, across the Po- 
tomac, and deceived the guard by selling vege- 
tables and milk as she proceeded. Once beyond 
Federal lines, and in friendly neighborhood, it 
was but a few minutes work to "off ye lend- 
ings " and secure a horse and riding-habit. 
With a courage and rapidity which must ever 
command the admiration of a brave people, 
she rode at hard gallop that burning July after- 
noon to Fairfax Court-house, and telegraphed 
to Gen. Beauregard, then at Manassas Junc- 
tion, the intelligence she had risked so much to 
convey. Availing himself promptly of the facts, 
he flashed them along electric wires to Rich- 
mond and to General Johnston i, and thus, 
through womanly devotion, a timely junction 
of the two armies was effected ere McDowell's 
banners flouted the skies of Bull Run. 

Carthagenian women gave their black locks 
to string their country's bows and furnish cord- 
age for its shipping ; and the glossy tresses of 
an American woman veiled a few mystic 
ciphers more potent in General Beauregard's 
hands than Talmudish Shemhamphorash. 

Her mission accomplished, the dauntless 
courier turned her horse's head and, doubtless, 
with an exulting, thankful heart returned in 
triumph to Washington. When our national 
jewels are made up, will not a grateful and 
admiring country set her name between those 
of Beauregard and Johnston in the revolution- 
ary diadem, and let the three blaze through 
coming ages, baffling the mists of time — the 
Constellation of Manassas ? The artillery duel 
of the 18th of July ended disastrously for the 
advance guard of the Federals — a temporary 
check was given. 

All things seemed in abeyance; dun, sul- 
phurous clouds of smoke lifted themselves from 
the dewy copse that fringed Bull Run, floating 
slowly to the distant purple crests of the Blue 
Rid»e, which gazed solemnly down on the 
wooded Coliseum, where gladiatorial hosts 
were soon to pour out their blood in the hid- 
eous orgies held by loathsome Fanaticism — 
guarded by Federal bayonets and canopied 
by the Stars and Stripes. During the-silent 
watches of Saturday night — 

" Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion creeping nigher, 
Glares at one that nods and winks behind a elowly-dying 
fire." 

A pure Sabbath morning kindled on the 
distant hill-tops, wearing heavenly credentials 
of rest and sanctity on its pearly forehead — 
credentials which the passions of mankind 



148 



MACARIA. 



could not pause to recognize ; and with the 
golden glow of summer sunshine came the 
tramp of infantry, the clatter of cavalry, the 
sullen growl of artillery. Major Huntingdon 
had been temporarily assigned to a regiment 
of infantry after leaving Richmond, and was 
posted on the right of General Beauregard's 
lines, commanding one of the lower fords. 
Two miles higher up the stream, in a different 
brigade, Colonel Aubrey's regiment guarded 
another of the numerous crossings. As the 
day advanced, and the continual roar of can- 
non toward Stone Bridge and Sudley's Ford 
indicated that the demonstrations on McLean's, 
Blackford's, and Mitchell's fords were mere 
feints to hold our right and centre, the truth 
flashed on General Beauregard that the main 
column was hurled against) Evans' little band 
on the extreme left. Hour after hour passed, 
and the thunder deepened on the Warrenton 
road ; then the general learned, with unutter- 
able chagrin, that his order for an advance on 
Centreville had miscarried, that a brilliant 
plan had been frustrated, and that new com- 
binations and dispositions must now be resort- 
ed to. The regiment to which Major Hunt- 
ingdon was attached was ordered to the sup- 
port of the left wing, and reached the distant 
position in an almost incredibly short time, 
while two regiments of the brigade to which 
Colonel Aubrey belonged were sent forward 
to the same point as a reserve. 

Like incarnations of Victory, Beauregard 
and Johnston swept to the front, where the 
conflict was most deadly; everywhere, at sight 
of them, our thin ranks dashed forward, and 
were mowed down by the fire of Rickett's and 
Griffin's batteries, which crowned the position 
they were so eager to regain. At half-past 
two o'clock the awful contest was at its height ; 
the rattle of musketry, the ceaseless whistle of 
rifle-balls, the deafening boom of artillery, the 
hurtling hail of shot, and explosion of shell, 
dense' volumes of smoke shrouding the com 
batants, and clouds of dust boiling up on all 
sides, lent unutterable horror to a scene which, 
to cold, dispassionate observers, might have 
seemed sublime. As the vastly superior num- 
bers of the Federals forced our stubborn bands 
to give back slowly, an order came from Gen- 
eral Beauregard for the right of his line, ex- 
cept the reserves, to advance and recover the 
long and desperately-disputed plateau. With 
a shout, the shattered lines sprang upon the 
foe and forced them temporarily back. Major 
Huntingdon's horse was shot under him ; he 
disengaged himself and marched on foot, wav- 
ing his sword and uttering words of encour- 
agement. He had proceeded but a few yards 
when a grape-shot entered his side, tearing its 
way through his body, and he fell where the 
dead lay thickest. For a time the enemy re- 
tired, but heavy reinforcements pressed in and 
.they returned, reoccupying the old ground. 
Not a moment was to be lost ; General Beaure- 



gard ordered forward his reserves for a second 
effort, and, with magnificent effect, led the 
charge in person. Then Russell Aubrey first 
came actively upon the field. At the word of 
command he dashed forward with his splendid 
regiment, and, high above all, towered his 
powerful form, with the long black plume of 
his hat drifting upon the wind as he led his 
admiring men. 

As he pressed on, with thin nostril dilated 
and eyes that burned like those of a tiger seiz- 
ing his prey, he saw, just in his path, leaning 
on his elbow, covered with blood and smeared 
with dust, the crushed, writhing form of his 
bitterest enemy. His horse's hoofs were al- 
most upon him ; he reined him back an in- 
stant and glared down at his old foe. It was 
only for an instant ; and as Major Huntingdon 
looked on the stalwart figure and at the ad- 
vancing regiment, life-long hatred and jeal- 
ousy were forgotten — patriotism throttled all 
the past in her grasp — he feebly threw up his 
hand, cheered faintly, and, with his eyes on 
Russell's, smiled grimly, saying with evident 
difficulty : 

" Beat them back, Aubrey ! Give them the 
bayonet !" 

The shock was awful — beggaring language. 
On, on they swept, while ceaseless cheers 
mingled with the cannonade ; the ground was 
recovered, to be captured no more. The Fed- 
erals were driven back across the' turnpike, 
and now dark masses of reinforcements de- 
bouched on the plain and marched toward our 
left. Was it Grouchy or Blucher ? Some 
moments of painful suspense ensued, while 
General Beauregard strained his eyes to de- 
cipher the advancing banner. Red and white 
and blue, certainly ; but was it the ensign of 
Despotism or of Liberty ? Nearer and nearer 
came the rushing column, and lo! upon the 
breeze streamed, triumphant as the Labarum 
of Constantine, the Stars and Bars. Kirby 
Smith and Elzey — God be praised ! The day 
was won, and Victory nestled proudly among 
the folds of our new-born banner. One more 
charge along our whole line, and the hireling 
hordes of oppression fled, panic-stricken. Rus- 
sell had received a painful wound from a 
minie ball, which entered his shoulder and 
ranged down toward the elbow, but he main- 
tained his position, and led his regiment a mile 
in the pursuit. When it became evident that 
the retreat was a complete rout, he resigned 
the command to Lieutenant-Colonel Black- 
well and rode back to the battle-field. Hide- 
ous was the spectacle presented — dead and 
dying, friend and foe, huddled in indiscrimi- 
nate ruin, weltering in blood and shivering in 
the agonies of dissolution ; blackened headless 
trunks and fragments of limbs — ghastly sights 
and sounds of woe, filling the scene of combat. 
Such were the first ■ fruits of the bigotry and 
fanatical hate of New England, aided by the 
unprincipled demagogism of the West ; such 



MACARIA. 



149 



were the wages of Abolitionism, guided by 
Lincoln and Seward— the latter-day Sejanus ; 
such the results of " higher-law," canting, pu- 
ritanical hypocrisy. 

Picking his way to avoid trampling the 
dead, Russell saw Major Huntingdon at a 
little distance, trying to drag himself toward a 
neighboring tree. The memory of his injuries 
crowded up — the memory of all that he had 
endured and lost through that man's preju- 
dice — the sorrow that might have been averted 
from his blind mother — and his vindictive 
spirit rebelled at the thought of rendering him 
aid. But as he paused, and struggled against 
his better nature, Irene's holy face, as he saw 
it last, lifted in prayer for him, rose, angel-like, 
above all that mass of death and horrors. 
The sufferer was Irene's father ; she was 
hundreds of miles away ; Russell set his lips 
firmly, and, riding up to the prostrate figure, 
dismounted. Exhausted by his efforts, Major 
Huntingdon had fallen back in the dust, and 
an expression of intolerable agony distorted 
his features as Russell stooped over him and 
asked, in a voice meant to be gentle : 

" Can I do anything for you ? Could you 
sit up if I placed you on my horse ?" 

The wounded man scowled as he recognized 
the voice and face, and turned his head par- 
tially away, muttering : 

" What brought you here ?" 

" There has never been any love between 
us, Major Huntingdon ; but we are fighting in 
the same cause for the first time in our lives. 
You are badly wounded, and, as a fellow- 
soldier, I should be glad to relieve your suffer- 
ings if possible. Once more, for humanity's 
sake, I ask, can you ride my horse to the rear 
if I assist you to mount ?" 

"No. But for God's sake give me some 
water !" 

Russell knelt, raised the head, and unbuck- 
ling his canteen, put it to his lips, using his 
own wounded arm with some difficulty. Half 
of the contents was eagerly swallowed, and 
the remainder Russell poured slowly on the 
gaping ghastly wound in his side. The proud 
man eyed him steadily till the last cool drop 
was exhausted, and said sullenly : 

" You owe me no kindness, Aubrey. I hate 
you, and you know it. But you have heaped 
coals of fire on my head. You are more gen- 
erous than I thought you. Thank you, Au- 
brey ; lay me under that tree yonder and let 
me die." 

" I will try to find a surgeon. Who belongs 
to your regiment ?" 

" Somebody whom I never saw till last 
week. I won't have him hacking about me. 
Leave me in peace." 

li Do you know anything of your servant ? 
I saw him as I came on the field." 

" Poor William ! he followed me so closely 
that he was shot through the head. He i's 



lying three hundred yards to the left, yonder. 
Poor fellow ! he was faithful to the last." 

A tear dimmed the master's eagle eye as he 
muttered, rather than spoke, these words. 

" Then I will find Dr. Arnold at once, and 
send him to you." 

It was no easy matter, on that crowded, con- 
fused Aceldama, and the afternoon was well- 
nigh spent before Russell, faint and weary, 
descried Dr. Arnold busily using his instru- 
ments in a group of wounded. He rode up, 
and, having procured a drink of water and 
refilled his canteen, approached the surgeon. 

" Doctor, where is your horse ? I want 
you ?" 

" Ho, Cyrus ! bring him up. What is the 
matter, Aubrey ? You are hurt." 

" Nothing serious, I think. But Major 
Huntingdon is desperately wounded — mor- 
tally, I am afraid. See what you can do for 
him." 

" You must be mistaken ! I have asked re- 
peatedly for Leonard, and they told me he 
was in hot pursuit and unhurt. I hope to 
heaven you are mistaken 1" 

" Impossible ; I tell you I lifted him out of a 
pool of his own blood. Come ; I will show you 
the way." 

At a hard gallop they crossed the interven- 
ing woods, and without difficulty Russell 
found the spot where the mangled form lay 
still. He had swooned, with his face turned 
up to the sky, and the ghastliness of death 
had settled on his strongly-marked, handsome 
features. 

" God pity Irene !" said the doctor, as he 
bent down and examined the horrid wound, 
striving to press the red lips together. 

The pain caused from handling him roused 
the brave spirit to consciousness, and, opening 
his eyes, he looked around wonderingly. 

" Well, Hiram ! it is all over with me, old 
fellow." 

" I hope not, Leonard ; can't you turn a lit- 
tle, and let me feel for the ball V" 

" It is of no use ; I am torn all to pieces. 
Take me out of this dirt, on the fresh grass 
somewhere." 

" I must first extract the ball. Aubrey, can 
you help me raise him a little V" 

Administering some chloroform, he soon 
succeeded in taking out the ball, and, with 
Russell's assistance, passed a bandage round 
the body. 

" There is no chance for me, Hiram ; I 
know that. I have few minutes to live. Some 
water." 

Russell put a cup to his white lips, and, call- 
ing in the assistance of Cyrus, who had fol- 
lowed his master, they carried him several 
yards farther, and made him comfortable, while 
orders were despatched for an ambulance. 

" It will come after my corpse. Hiram, see 
that I am sent home at once. I don't want 



150 



MACARIA. 



my bones mixed here with other people's; and 
it will be some comfort to Irene to know that 
I am buried in sight of home. I could not 
rest in a ditch here. I want to be laid in my 
own vault. Will you see to it ?" 

" Yes." 

" Hiram, come nearer, where I can see you 
better. Break the news gently to Irene. Tell 
her I did my duty ; that will be her only com- 
fort, and best. Tell her I fell in the thickest 
of the battle, with my face to Washington ; 
that I died gloriously, as a Huntingdon and a 
soldier should. Tell her I sent her my bless- 
ing, my love, and a last kiss." 

He paused, and tears glided over his wan 
cheeks as the picture of his far-off home rose 
temptingly before him. 

" She is a brave child ; she will bear it, for 
the sake of the cause I died in. Take care of 
her, Arnold ; tell Eric I leave her to his guar- 
dianship. Harris has my will. My poor lonely 
child 1 it is bitter to leave her. My Queen 1 
my golden-haired, beautiful Irene !" 

He raised his hand feebly, and covered his 
face. 

"Don't let it trouble' you, Leonard. You 
know how I love her ; I promise you I will 
watch over her as long as 1 live." 

" I believe you. But if I could see her once 
more, to ask her not to remember my harsh- 
ness — long ago. You must tell her for me ; 
she will understand. Oh ! I — " 

A horrible convulsion seized him at this mo- 
ment, and so intense was the agony that a 
groan burst through his set teeth and he strug- 
gled to rise. Russell knelt down and rested 
the haughty head against his shoulder, wiping 
off the cold drops that beaded the pallid brow. 
After a little while, lifting his eyes to the face 
bending over him, Major Huntingdon gazed 
into the melancholy black eyes, and said al- 
most in a whisper : 

" I little thought I should ever owe you 
thanks. Aubrey, forgive me all my hate ; you 
can afford to do so now. I am not a brute ; I 
know magnanimity when I see it. Perhaps I 
was wrong to visit Amy's sins on you ; but I 
could not forgive her. Aubrey, it was natural 
that I should hate Amy's son." 

Again the spasm shook his lacerated frame, 
and, twenty minutes after, his fierce, relent- 
less spirit was released from torture ; the proud, 
ambitious, dauntless man was with his God. 

Dr. Arnold closed the eyes with trembling 
fingers, and covered his face with his hands to 
hide the tears that he could not repress. 

" A braver man never died for freedom. He 
cheered me on, as my regiment charged over 
the spot where he lay," said Russell, looking 
down at the stiffening form. 

<; He had his faults, like the rest of us, and 
his were stern ones; but, for all that, I was 
attached to him. He had some princely traits. 
I would rather take my place there beside him, 
than have to break this to Irene. Poor deso- 



late child ! what an awful shock for her ! She 
loves him with a devotion which I have rarely 
seen equalled. God only knows how she will 
bear it. If I were not so needed here I would 
go to her to-morrow." 

" Perhaps you can be spared." 

" No ; it would not be right to leave so much 
suffering behind." 

He turned to Cyrus and gave directions 
about bringing the body into camp, to his own 
tent; and the two mounted and rode slowly 
back. 

For some moments silence reigned ; then 
Dr. Arnold said suddenly : 

" I am glad you were kind to him, Aubrey. 
It will be some consolation to that pure soul in 

W , who has mourned over and suffered 

for his violent animosity. It was very gener- 
ous, Russell." 

" Save your commendation for a better oc- 
casion ; I do not merit it now. I had, and 
have, as little magnanimity as my old enemy, 
and what I did was through no generous 
oblivion of the past." 

Glancing at him as these words were uttered 
gloomily, the doctor noticed his faint, wearied 
appearance, and led the way to his temporary 
hospital. 

" Come in and let me see your arm. Your 
sleeve is full of blood." 

An examination discovered a painful flesh 
wound — the minie ball having glanced from 
the shoulder and passed out through the upper 
part of the arm. In removing the coat to dress 
the wound the doctor exclaimed : 

" Here is a bullet-hole in the breast, which 
must have just missed your heart ! Was it a 
spent-ball ?" 

A peculiar smiled disclosed Russell's faultless 
teeth an instant, but he merely took his coat, 
laid it over his uninjured arm, and answered: 

" Don't trouble yourself about spent-balls — 
finish your job. I must look after my wound- 
ed." 

As soon as the bandages were adjusted he 
walked away, and took from the inside pocket 
of the coat a heavy square morocco case con- 
taining Irene's ambrotype. When the coat 
was buttoned, as on that day, it rested over his 
heart ; and during the second desperate charge 
of General Beauregard's lines Russell felt a 
sudden thump, and, above all the roar of that 
scene of carnage, heard the shivering of the 
glass which covered the likeness. The morocco 
was torn and indented, but the ball was turned 
aside harmless, and now, as he touched the 
spring, the fragments of' glass fell at his feet. 
It was evident that his towering form had ren- 
dered him a conspicuous target ; some accurate 
marksman had aimed at his heart, and the 
ambrotype-case had preserved his life. He 
looked at the uninjured, radiant face till a 
mist dimmed his eyes ; nobler aspirations, purer 
aims possessed him, and, bending his knees, he 
bowed his forehead on the case and reverently 



MACARIA. 



151 



thanked God for his deliverance. With a 
countenance pale from physical suffering, but 
beaming with triumphant joy for the Nation's 
first great victory, he went out among the dead 
and dying,, striving to relieve the wounded and 
to find the members of his own command. 
Passing from group to group, he heard a feeble, 
fluttering voice pronounce his name, and saw 
one of his men sitting against a tree, mortally 
wounded by a fragment of shell. 

" Well, Colonel, I followed that black feather 
of yours as long as I could. I am glad I had 
one good chance at the cowardly villains 
before I got hurt. We've thrashed them 
awfully, and I am willing to die now." 

" I hope you are not so badly hurt. Cheer 
up, Martin; I will bring a doctor to dress 
your leg, and we will soon have you on 
crutches." 

"No, Colonel; the doctor has seen it, and 
says there is nothing to be done for me. I 
knew it before ; everybody feels when death 
strikes them. Dr. Arnold gave me something 
that has eased me of my pain, but he can't 
save me. Colonel, they say my captain is 
killed ; and, as I may not see any of our com- 
pany boys, I wish you would write to my poor 
wife, and tell her all about it. I have n't 
treated her as well as I ought ; but a wife, for- 
gives everything, and she will grieve for me, 
though I did act like a brute when I was drink- 
ing. She will be proud to know that I fought 
well for my country, and died a faithful Con- 
federate soldier ; and so will .my boy, my 
Philip, who wanted to come with me. Tell 
Margaret to send him to take my place just as 
soon as he is old enough. The boy will re- 
venge me ; he has a noble spirit. And, 
Colonel, be sure to tell her to tell Miss Irene 
that I kept my promise to her — that I have not 
touched a drop of liquor since the day she 
talked to me before I went out to build Mr. 
Huntingdon's gin-house. God bless her sweet, 
pure soul ! I believe she saved me from a 
drunkard's grave, to fill that of a brave 
soldier. I know she will never let my Mar- 
garet suffer, as long as she lives." 

"Is there anything else I can do for you, 
Martin ?" 

" Nothing else, unless I could get a blanket, 
or something, to put under my head. I am 
getting very weak." 

" Leavens, pick up one of those knapsacks 
scattered about, and bi ing a blanket. I prom- 
ise you, Martin, I will write to your wife ; and 
when I go home, if I outlive this war, I will see 
that she is taken care of. I am sorry to lose 
you, my brave fellow. You were one of the 
best sergeants in the regiment. But remem- 
ber that you hiive helped to win a great . 
battle, and your country will not forget her j 
faithful sons who fell at Manassas." 

" Good-by, Colonel ; I should like to follow \ 
you to Washington. You have been kind to | 
us all, and I hope you will be spared to our | 



regiment. God bless you, Colonel Aubrey, 
wherever you go." 

Russell changed him from his constrained 
posture to a more comfortable one, rested his 
head on a knapsack and blanket, placed his 
own canteen beside, him, and, with a long, hard 
gripe of hands, and faltering '' God bless you!" 
the soldiers parted. The day of horrors was 
shuddering to its close ; glazing eyes were 
turned for the last time to the sun which set in 
the fiery west ; the din and roar of the pursuit 
died away in the distance ; lowering clouds 
draped the sky ; the groans and wails of the 
wounded rose mournfully on the reeking air ; 
and night and a drizzling rain came down on 
the blanched corpses on the torn, trampled, 
crimson plain of Manassas. 

" I hate the dreadful hollow behind the little wood. 
Its lips in the field above are dabbled with blood-red heath, 
The red-ribbed ledges drip with a silent horror of blood. 
And Echo there, whatever is asked her, answers ' Death !' " 

But all of intolerable torture centred not there, 
awful as was the scene. Throughout the 
length and breadth of the Confederacy tele- 
graphic despatches told that the battle was 
raging ; and an army of women spent that 21st 
upon their knees, in agonizing prayer for 
husbands and sons who wrestled for their 
birthright on the far-off field of blood. Gray- 
haired pastors and curly-headed children alike 
besought the God of Justice to bless the Right, 
to deliver our gallant band -of patriots from 
the insolent hordes sent to destroy us ; and to 
that vast trembling volume of prayer which 
ascended from early morning from the altars of 
the South God lent his ear, and answered. 

The people of W were subjected to 

painful suspense as hour after hour crept by, 
and a dense crowd collected in front of the 
telegraph-office, whence floated an ominous 
red flag. Andrew waited on horseback to 
carry to Irene the latest intelligence, and 
during the entire afternoon she paced the 
colonnade, with her eyes fixed on the winding 
road. At half-past five o'clock the solemn 
stillness of the sultry day was suddenly broken 
by a wild, prolonged shout from the town ; 
cheer after cheer was caught up by the hills, 
echoed among the purple valleys, and finally 
lost in the roar of the river. Andrew galloped 
up the avenue with an extra, yet damp from 
the printing-press, containing the joyful tidings 
that McDowell's army had been completely 
routed, and was being pursued toward Alex- 
andria. Meagre was the account — our heroes, 
Bee and Bartow, had fallen. No other details 
were given, but the premonition, "Heavy loss 
on our side," sent a thrill of horror to every 
womanly heart, dreading to learn the price of 
victory. Irene's white face flushed as she 
read the despatch, and, raising her hands, ex- 
claimed : 

" Oh, thank (rod ! thank God !" 

" Shall I go back to the office ?" 

" Yes ; I shall certainly get a despatch from 



152 



MACARIA. 



Father some time to-night. Go back, and wait 
for it. Tell Mr. Rogers, the operator, what 
you came for. and ask him I say please to let 
you have it as soon as it arrives. And, An- 
drew, bring me any other news that may come 
before my despatch." 

Tediously time wore on ; the shadows on the 
lawn and terrace grey/ longer and thinner ; 
the birds deserted the hedges; the pigeons 
forsook the colonnade and steps ; Paragon, 
tired 6f walking after Irene, fell asleep on the 
rug ; and the slow, drowsy tinkle of cow-bells 
died away among the hills. 

Far off to the east the blue was hidden by 
gray thunderous masses of rain-cloud, now 
and then veined by lightning ; and as Irene 
watched their jagged, grotesque outlines they 
took the form of battling hosts. Cavalry 
swept down on the flanks, huge forms heaved 
along the centre, and the lurid furrows, plough- 
ing the whole from time to time, seemed indeed 
death-dealing flashes of artillery. She recalled 
the phantom cloud-battle in the Netherlandish 
vision, and shuddered involuntarily as, in im- 
agination, she 

" Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a 

ghastly dew 
From the nations airy navies grappling in the central blue." 

Gradually the distant storm drifted southward, 
the retreat passed the horizon, a red sunset 
faded in the west ; rose and. amber and orange 
were quenched, and sober blue, with starry 
lights, was over all. How the serene regal 
beauty of that summer night mocked the tu- 
multuous throbbing, the wild joy, and great 
exultation of the national heart ! Mother 
Earth industriously weaves and hangs about 
the world her radiant lovely tapestries, pitiless 
of man's wails and requiems, deaf to his pjeans. 
Irene had earnestly endeavored to commit her 
father and Russell to the merciful care and 
protection of God, and to rest in faith, ban- 
ishing apprehension ; but a horrible presenti- 
ment, which would not "down " at her bidding, 
kept her nerves strung to their utmost tension. 
As the night advanced her face grew haggard 
aod the wan lips fluttered ceaselessly. Rus- 
sell she regarded as already dead to her in this 
world, but for her father she wrestled des- 
perately in spirit. Mrs. Campbell joined her, 
uttering hopeful, encouraging words, and Nel- 
lie came out, with a cup of tea on a waiter. 

"Please drink your tea, just to please me, 
Queen. I can't bear to look at you. In all 
your life I never saw you worry so. Do sit 
down and rest ; you have walked fifty miles 
since morning." 

" Take it away, Nellie. I don't want it." 

" But, child, it will be time enough to fret 
when you know Mass' Leenard is hurt. Don't 
run to meet trouble ; it will face you soon 
enough. If you won't take the tea, for pity's 
sake let me get you a glass of wine." 

" No ; I tell you I can't swallow anything. 
If you want to help me, pray for Father." 



She resumed her walk, with her eyes strain- 
ed in the direction of the town. 

Thus passed three more miserable hours ; 
then the clang of the iron gate at the foot of 
the avenue fell on her aching ear ; the tramp 
of horses' hoofs and roll of wheels came up 
the gravelled walk. 

" Bad news ! they are coming to break it 
to me !" said she hoarsely, and, pressing her 
hands together, she leaned heavily against 
one of the guardian statues which had stood 
so long before the door, like ancient Hermse 
at Athens. Was the image indeed prescient V 
It tilted from its pedestal and fell with a crash, 
breaking into fragments. The omen chilled 
her, and she stood still, with the light from 
the hall-lamp streaming over her. The car- 
riage stopped ; Judge Harris and his wife came 
up the steps, followed slowly by Andrew, 
whose hat was slouched over his eyes. As 
they approached, Irene put out her hands 
wistfully. 

" We have won a glorious victory, Irene, 
but many of our noble soldiers are wound- 
ed. I knew you would be anxious, and we 
came — " 

" Is my father killed ?" 

" Your father was wounded. He led a 
splendid charge." 

" Wounded ! No ! he is killed ! Andrew, 
tell me the truth — is Father dead ?" 

The faithful negro could no longer repress 
his grief and sobbed convulsively, unable to 
reply. 

." Oh, my God ! I knew it ! I knew it 1" she 
gasped. 

The gleaming arms were thrown up de- 
spairingly, and a low, dreary cry wailed 
through the stately old mansion as the or- 
phan turned her eyes upon Nellie and An- 
drew — the devoted two who had petted her 
from childhood. 

Judge Harris led her into the library, and 
his weeping wife endeavored to offer consola- 
tion, but she stood rigid and tearless, holding 
out her hand for the despatch. Finally they 
gave it to her, and she read : 

"Charles T. Harris: 

" Huntingdon was desperately wounded at 
three o'clock to-day, in making a charge. He 
died two hours ago. I was with him. The 

body leaves to-morrow for W . 

" Hiram Arnold." 

The paper fell from her fingers ; with a dry 

sob she turned from them and threw herself 

on the sofa, with her face of woe to the wall. 

So passed the night. 

***** 

Four days after, a number of Major Hunt- 
ingdon's friends waited at the depot to receive 
the body. The train had been detained ; it 
was nine o'clock at night when the cars ar- 
rived, and the coffin was placed in a hearse 
and escorted to the Hill. By Judge Harris' 



MACARIA. 



153 



direction it was carried into the parlor and 
placed on the table draped for the purpose ; 
and when arrangements had been made for the 
funeral on the morrow, he dismissed all but a 
few who were to remain during the night. 

Irene sat at her window up stairs, looking 
out upon the sombre soughing pines that rose 
like a cloud against the starry sky, while Grace 
and Salome walked about the room, crying 
spasmodically and trying to utter something 
comforting to the still figure, which might 
have been of ivory or granite, for any visible 
sign of animation. After a time, when the 
bustle had ceased, when the carriages had 
withdrawn, and the hurried tread of many 
feet had subsided, Irene rose and said : 

" Grace, tell your father I wish to see him." 

Judge Harris came promptly. 

" I am greatly obliged to you for all your 
kindness. Please take the gentlemen into the 
dining-room or library, if you will s'tay, and do 
not allow any of them to return to the parlor ; 
I shall sit there to-night, and need no one." 

" Oh, my child ! impossible. It would not 
be proper. You are not able." 

" I know what I am able to do and what I 
have resolved to do. Be good enough to re- 
move those gentlemen at once." 

Something in her face startled him ; perhaps 
its frightful, tearless immobility, and he silent- 
ly complied. 

When all was quiet she crossed the passage, 
entered the draped room, and, locking the 
door, was alone with her dead. Tha coffin 
stood in the centre of the floor, and upon it 
lay the sword and plumed hat: She looked 
down on the lid where the name was inscribed 
and kissed the characters ; and, as all her iso- 
lation and orphanage rushed upon her, she 
laid her head on the table, calling mournfully 
upon the manly sleeper for comfort and for- 
giveness. 

When morning broke fully, Judge Harris 
knocked softly at the door. No answer. He 
rapped loudly, trying the bolt. All within was 
silent as the grave. He hurried round to the 
greenhouse, threw up the sash, pushed open 
the door, and entered, full of undefinable 
alarm. The wax-candles on the table and 
mantle had just expired; the smoke from one 
was still creeping, thread-like, to the ceiling. 
A white form knelt on the floor, with clasped 
hands and bowed head, resting against the 
coffin. 

" Irene ! Irene !" 

She did not stir. 

He looped back the curtains to admit the 
light, and, bending down, lifted the head. 
The face was chill and colorless as death, the 
eyes were closed, and a slender stream of 
blood oozed slowly over the lips and dripped 
upon the linen shroudings of the table. She 
had fainted from the hemorrhage, and, taking 
her in his arms, he carried her up to her own 
room. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

" I intend to trust you with important de- 
spatches, Miss Grey — for I have great confi- 
dence in female ingenuity, as well as female 
heroism. The meekest of you women are 
miniature Granvelles ; nature made you a race 
of schemers. Pardon me if I ask how you 
propose to conceal the despatches ? It is no 
easy matter now to run the blockade of a 
Southern port, especially on the Gulf; and 
you must guard against being picked up by 
the Philistines." 

"lam fully aware of all the risk attending 
my trip ; but if you will give me the papers, 
prepared as I directed in my note from Paris, 
I will pledge my life that they shall reach 
Richmond safely. If I am captured and car- 
ried North, I have friends who will assist me 
in procuring a passport to the South, and little 
delay will occur. If I am searched, I can 
bid them defiance. Give me the despatch- 
es, and I will show you how I intend to take 
them." 

Electra opened her trunk, took put a large 
portfolio, and selected from the drawings one 
in crayons representing the heads of Michael 
Angelo's Fates. Spreading it out, face down- 
ward, on the table, she laid the closely-written 
tissue paper of despatches smoothly On the 
back of the thin pasteboard ; then fitted a 
square piece of oil-silk on the tissue missive, 
and having, with a small brush, coated, the 
silk with paste, covered the whole with a piece 
of thick drawing-paper, the edges of which 
were carefully glued to those of the paste- 
board. Taking a hot iron from the grate, she 
passed it repeatedly over the paper, till all 
was smooth and dry ; then in the centre wrote, 
with a pencil : " Michael Angelo's Fates, in the 
Pitti Palace. Copied May 8th, 1861." From 
a list of figures in a small note-book she added 
the dimensions of the picture, and, underneath 
all, a line from Euripides. 

Her eyes sparkled as she bent over her 
work, and at length, lifting it for inspection, 
she exclaimed triumphantly : 

" There, sir ! I can baffle even the Paris de- 
tective, much less the lynx-eyed emissaries of 
Lincoln, Seward, and Co. Are you satisfied ? 
Examine it with your own hands." 

" Perfectly satisfied, my dear young lady. 
But suppose they should seize your trunk ? 
Confiscation is the cry all over the North." 

" Finding nothing suspicious or ' contra- 
band ' about me, except my Southern birth 
and sympathies, they would scarcely take pos- 
session of the necessary tools of my profession. 
I have no fear, sir ; the paper is fated to reach 
its destination." 

" Are your other despatches sealed up pie- 
tori ally ?" 

She laughed heartily. 

" Of course not. We women are too shrewd 
to hazard all upon one die." 



154 



MACAKIA. 



" Well — well ! You see that we trust impor- 
tant data to your cunning fingers. You leave 
London to-morrow for Southampton ; will ar- 
rive just in time for the steamer. Good-by, 
Miss Grey. When I get back to the Confed- 
eracy I shall certainly find you out. I want 
you to paint the portraits of my wife and chil- 
dren. From the enviable reputation you have 
already acquired, I am proud to claim you for 
my countrywoman. God bless you and lead 
you safely home. Good-by, Mr. Mitchell. 
Take care of her, and let me hear from you on 
your arrival." 

From the hour when tidings of the fall of 
Sumter reached Europe, Electra had resolved 
to cut short the studies which she had pursued 
so vigorously since her removal to Florence, 
and return to the South. But the tide of 
travel set toward, not from, European shores, 
and it was not until after repeated attempts to 
find some one homeward-bound, that she learn- 
ed of Eric Mitchell's presence in Paris, and 

his intention of soon returning to W . 

She wrote at once, requesting his permission 
to place herself under his care. It was cordi- 
ally accorded ; and, bidding adieu to Italy, she 
joined him without delay, despite the plead- 
ings of Mr., Mrs. Young, and Louisa, who had 
recently arrived at Florence, and sincerely 
mourned a separation under such painful cir- 
cumstances. 

Eric was detained in Paris by a severe 
attack of the old disease, but finally reached 
London — whence, having completed their ar- 
rangements, they set off for Southampton, and 
took passage in the Trent, which was destined 
subsequently to play a prominent part in the 
tangled role of Diplomacy, and to furnish the 
most utterly humiliating of many chapters of 
the pusillanimity, sycophancy, and degrada- 
tion of the Federal government. 

The voyage proved pleasant and prosperous ; 
and, once at Havana, Eric anxiously sought 
an opportunity of testing the vaunted efficien- 
cy of the blockade. Unfortunately, two steam- 
ers had started the week previous, one to New 
Orleans, the other to Charleston ; only sailing 
vessels were to be found, and about the move- 
ments of these impenetrable mystery seemed 
wrapped. On the afternoon of the third day 
after their arrival, Eric, wearied with the 
morning's fruitless inquiry, was resting on the 
sofa at the hotel, while Electra watched the 
tide of passers-by, when Willis, Eric's ser- 
vant, came in quickly and walked up to the 
sofa. 

" Master, Captain Wright is here. I asked 
him to come and see you, and he is waiting 
down stairs." 

" Captain Wright ?" 

" Yes, sir ; the captain you liked so much at 
Smyrna — the one who gave you that pipe, 
sir." 

" Oh, I remember ! Yes — yes ; and he is 
here V Well, show him up." 



"Master, from the way he watches the 
clouds, I believe he is about to run out. May- 
be he can take us ?" 

" Willis is invaluable to you, Mr. Mitchell," 
said Electra, as the negro left the room. 

" He is, indeed. He is eyes, ears, crutches, 
everything to me, and never forgets anything 
or anybody. He has travelled over half the 
world with me — could desert me, and be free 
at any moment he felt inclined to do so — but 
is as faithful now as the day on which I first 
left home with him." 

" Ah, Captain ! this is an unexpected pleas- 
ure. I am heartily glad to see you. Miss 
Grey — Captain Wright. Take a seat." 

The captain looked about thirty, possibly 
older ; wore a gray suit and broad straw hat, 
and, when the latter was tossed on the floor, 
showed a handsome, frank, beaming face, with 
large, clear, smiling blue eyes, whose steady 
light nothing human could dim. His glossy 
reddish-brown hair was thrust back from a 
forehead white and smooth as a woman's, but 
the lower portion of the face was effectually 
bronzed by exposure to the vicissitudes of 
climate and weather ; and Electra noticed a 
peculiar nervous restlessness of manner, as 
though he were habitually on the wat^li. 

"I am astonished to see you in Havana, 
Mitchell. Where did you come from ?" 

" Just from Paris, where bad health drove 
me, after I bade you good-by at Smyrna. 
What are you doing here ?" 

" I suppose you have heard of our great vic- 
tory at Manassas ?" 

" Yes, and am rejoiced beyond all ex- 
pression, but feel anxious to see a full list 
of our loss. I had a brother-in-law in that en- 
gagement." 

" His name ?" 

" Huntingdon — Major Huntingdon, of 
W , in ." 

" I have seen no mention of his name in the 
papers, but our loss in officers was very heavy. 
We can ill afford to spare Bee, Bartow, and 
Fisher ; and I want the war carried on till 
we burn every public building in Washington 
and raise a monument to our dead on the site 
of the Capitol. We owe this debt, and we 
must pay it." 

* Have you a vessel here, Captain ?" 

" Of course I have ! Don't you suppose 
that I would be in the army if I could not serve 
my country better by carrying in arms and 
ammunition ? I have already made two suc- 
cessful trip3 with my schooner — ran in, despite 
the blockaders. I am negotiating for a steam- 
er, but until I can get one ready I intend to 
sail on." 

" When did you arrive here last ?" 

" About ten days ago. They chased me for 
nearly fifteen miles, but I stole out of sight be- 
fore morning." 

" When do you expect to leave here ?" 

The captain darted a swift, searching glance 



MACARIA. 



155 



at Electra, rose, and closed the door, saying 
with a light lau^h : 

" Take _ care, man ! Tou are not exactly 
deer-hunting or crab-catching in a free coun- 
try ! Mind that, and talk softly. I am watched 
here ; the Federal agents all know me, and 
there are several Federal vessels in port. 
When do I expect to leave ? Well, to-night, 
if the weather thickens up, as I think it will, 
and there is evident sign of a storm. Most 
sailors wait for fair weather ; we blockade- 
runners for foul." 

" Oh, Captain ! do take us with you !" said 
Electra, eagerly. 

" What ! In a rickety schooner, in the teeth 
of a gale ? Besides, Miss, I am taking a cargo 
of powder this trip, and if I am hard pressed 
I shall blow up vessel and all, rather than suf- 
fer it to fall into Yankee clutches. You would 
not relish going up to heaven after the fashion 
of a rocket, would you ?" 

" I am willing,, sir, to risk everything you 
threaten, rather than wait here indefinitely." 

" Can't you take us, Wright — Miss Grey, 
Willis, and myself? We are very impatient 
to get home." 

" But I have no accommodations for passen- 
gers. I should be ashamed to ask Miss Grey 
aboard my little egg-shell — everything is so 
small and comfortless. I have not lost all my 
politeness and chivalry, if I am a rough- look- 
ing Confederate sailor. ■ I assure you I have 
every disposition to oblige you, but really it 
would not be right to subject a lady to such a 
trip as I may have before me." 

" But, Captain, if, with all these facts star- 
ing me in the face, I' appeal to your chivalry, 
and beg you to allow me to undergo the hard- 
ships incident to the trip in preference to un- 
certain delay here. If I prefer to run the 
gauntlet in your schooner, you surely will not 
refuse me ?" 

" Really, Miss, I don't know what to say. I 
thought I would frighten you out of the no- 
tion — for, to tell you the truth, I am always so 
much more anxious when I have ladies' lives 
in my hands. I pledge you my word I would 
sooner run afoul of a Federal frigate than see 
you suffer for want of anything. I can't even 
set a table half the time." 

"But I suppose, sir, we could contrive to 
live a few days without eating at a regular 
table. I will take some cheese and crackers 
and fruit along in a basket, if that will ease 
your mind. Do waive your scruples, and con- 
sent to take charge of us." 

"I add my prayers to hers. Wright, do 
take us. We shall not mind privations or in- 
convenience." 

" Well, then, understand distinctly that, if 
anything happens, you are not to blame me. If 
the young lady gets sea-sick, or freckled, or 
sunburnt, or starved to death, or blo^n up, or 
drowned, or, worse than all, if the Yankee 
thieves by the way-side take her as a prize, it 



will be no fault of mine whatever, and I tell 
you now I shall not lay it on my conscience." 

" 'Rawhead and bloody bones' never fright- 
ened me, even when I was a little child, sir ; so 
you may reconcile yourself to the prospect of 
having us as compagnons de voyage." 

" Suppose a small hand-to-hand fight forms 
a part of the programme ?" 

" In that case, I have a splendid brace of 
pistols, which were given to me before I left 
Europe." 

" Do you know how to handle them V" 

" Moderately well. I will practice as we go 
along, by making a target of one of your small 
ropes." 

" I see you are incorrigible ; and I suppose 
I must let you go with me, bongre' malgre." 

" Bongre let it be, by all means. I am in- 
expressibly impatient to get home." 

" Wright, to what port are you bound ?" 

" Ah ! that is more than I can tell you. 
The winds must decide it. I can't try the 
Carolinas again this trip ; they are watching 
for me too closely there. New Orleans is 
rather a longer run than I care to make, and 
I shall keep my eyes on Apalachicola and 
Mobile." 

" What object have you in starting to-night, 
particularly in the face of a gale ?" 

Again the captain's eye swept round the 
room, to guard against any doors that might 
be ajar. 

" As I told you before, I am watched here. 
The Federals have a distinguished regard for 
me, and I have to elude suspicion, as well as 
run well, when I do get out. Two hours ago 
a Federal armed steamer, which has been 
coaling here, weighed anchor, and has proba- 
bly left the harbor, to cruise between this 
place and Key West. As they passed, one of 
the crew yelled out to me that they would 
wait outside and catch me certainly this time ; 
that I had made my last jaunt to Dixie, etc. 
I have carefully put out the impression that I 
need some repairs, which can not be finished 
this week ; and have told one or two, confi- 
dentially, that I could not le'ave until the ar- 
rival of a certain cargo from Nassau, which is 
due to-morrow. That puritanical craft which 
started off at noon does not expect me for 
several days, and to-night I shall rub my 
fingers and sail out right in her wake. Ha ! 
ha ! how they will howl ! What gnashing of 
teeth there will he when they hear of me in a 
Confederate port ! And now about your bag- 
gage. Have everything ready ; I will show 
Willis the right wharf, and at dark he must 
bring the trunks down ; I will be on the watch, 
and send a boat ashore. About sunset you 
and Miss Grey can come aboard, as if for a 
mere visit. I must go and make what little 
preparation I can for your comfort." 

Nothing occurred to frustrate the plan ; Eric 
and Electra were cordially received, and at 
dusk Willis and the baggage arrived punctu- 



156 



MACAEIA. 



ally. The schooner was lying some distance 
from the wharf, all sails down, and apparent-. 
Iy contemplating no movement. With dark- 
ness came a brisk, stiffening wind, and clouds 
shutting out even dim starlight. At ten 
o'clock, all things being in readiness, the cap- 
tain went on deck ; very soon after the glim- 
mering lights of the city, then the frowning 
walls of Moro, were left behind, and the 
" Dixie " took her way silently and swiftly 
seaward. 

About two o'clock, being unable to sleep 
from the rocking of the vessel, Electra, know- 
ing that Eric was still on deck, crept up the 
steps in the darkness, for the lights had been 
extinguished. The captain was passing, but 
paused, saying in a whisper : 

" Is that you, Miss Grey ? Come this way, 
and I will show you something." 

He grasped her hand, led her to the bow, 
where Eric was sitting on a coil of rope, and, 
pointing straightforward, added in the same 
suppressed tone : . 

" Look right ahead — you see a light ? The 
Philistines are upon us ! Look well, and you 
will see a dark, irregular moving mass ; that is 
the steamer of which I told you. They have 
found out at last that there is going to be all 
sorts of a gale, and as they can't ride it like 
my snug, dainty little egg-shell, they are put- 
ting back with all possible speed. Twenty 
minutes ago they were bearing down on me ; 
now you see that they will pass to our left. 
What a pity they don't know their neigh- 
bors !" 

" Do you think that they will not see you ?" 

" Certainly ! with sails down, and lights 
out, there is nothing to be seen on such a 
night as this. There 1 don't you hear her 
paddles ?" 

" No ; I hear nothing but the roar of the 
wind and water." 

" Ah ! that is because your ears are not 
trained like mine. Great Neptune ! how. she 
labors already I Now ! be silent." 

On came the steamer, which Electra's un- 
trained eyes, almost blinded by spray, could 
barely discern ; and her heart beat like a 
muffled drum as it drew nearer and nearer. 
Once she heard a low, chuckling laugh of sat- 
isfaction escape the captain ; then, with start- 
ling distinctness, the ringing of a bell was 
borne from the steamer's deck. 

" Four bells — two o'clock. How chagrined 
they will be to-morrow, when they find out 
they passed me without paying their respects," 
whispered the captain. 

Gradually the vessel receded, the dark mass 
grew indistinct, the light flickered, and was 
soon lost to view, and the sound of the labor- 
ing machinery was drowned in the roar of the 
waves. 

" Hurrah ! for the ' Dixie !' Strike a light 
below, Hutchinson, and get some glasses. We 
must nave a little champagne in honor of this 



performance. Come down, Miss Grey, and 
you, too, Mitchell ; the water is beginning to 
break very near your feet. Oh ! but you must 
take some wine, Miss Grey. I can't have you 
looking like a ghost when T land you on Con- 
federate soil. People will swear I starved 
you, and nothing humiliates me half so much 
as an imputation on my hospitality. Here 's 
to the Confederacy ! and to our Beauregard 
and Johnston ! God bless them both !" 

Electra drank the wine ; and, before he 
went back on deck, the captain made a com- 
fortable place for her on the sofa in the little 
cabin. The storm increased until it blew a 
perfect hurricane, and the schooner rolled and 
creaked, now -and then shivering in every 
timber. It was utterly impossible to sleep, and 
Eric, who was suffering from a headache, pass- 
ed a miserable night. In the white sickly dawn 
the captain looked in again, and Electra 
thought that no ray of sunshine could be more 
radiant or cheering than his joyous noble face. 

" Good-morning. I 'wonder if I look as 
much like a drenched lily as you do, Miss 
Grey ? Doubtless, much more like a drenched 
sunflower, you think. Were you alarmed all 
night ?" 

" No, sir ; I knew that we were not in the 
hands of Palinurus." 

" Oh I thank you for your confidence ! I 
will tell my wife of that, if I live to see her 
again. I certainly did not fall overboard, 
which was luck}' — for, though I rather pride 
myself on my proficiency as a swimmer, I am 
very sceptical concerning the mythologic three 
days performance. Mitchell, I hope a good 
cup of hot coffee will set your head straight." 

" How is the storm ? Any abatement ?" 
asked Eric. 

" Not a whit yet ; but the wind has veered 
a little, and T think that by twelve o'clock it 
will break away." 

" Captain, can I go on deck for a little 
while ?" 

" Whew ! My dear young lady, you would 
not be able to catch your breath again for a 
half-hour. You could not stand a moment; 
spray and wind would blind you, and the 
waves would take you overboard— wash you 
away." 

" But I want to see a genuine violent storm 
at sea. I shall probably never have another 
opportunity." 

" I will answer for the genuineness of this 
specimen, if you really want to look out. 
Wrap a shawl round your shoulders; give me 
your hand ; step up ; look for yourself. No 
counterfeit — take my word for that. Squally 
enough, is n't it ?" 

A wild howling waste of waters leaped and 
rolled like leaden mountains against a wan 
drab sky, where dun smoke-colored clouds 
trailed sullenly before the wind. Foam-crown- 
ed walls towered on either side ..the schooner, 
leaned over as if to meet and crush it, and 



MACAEIA. 



157 



broke in .wreaths of spray about the deck, 
while ghastly sheet-lightning glimmered cease- 
lessly. 

" Old Father Neptune must be in a tearing 
rage with his pretty Amphitrite, to churn up 
all this commotion. Don't you think you have 
seen enough, Miss Grey ? You are getting 
wet."' 

He saw her face flush and her eyes sparkle 
strangely. 

"If I could only paint this sea ! If I could 
only put that roll and sweep of waves yonder 
upon canvas ! I could afford to die young. 
Oh ! for the brush of Clarksori Stanfield for 
one hour ! to fix that sea — ' where it gathers 
itself into a huge billow, fronting the blast like 
an angry brow, corrugated in agony and rage.' 
My father was a sailor, and I think I must 
have inherited my love of the sea from him." 

" Where is he now ?" 

" Dead — long ago — before I was born. His 
ship, the " Electra," went down with all on 
board." 

" And your mother ?" 

"Named me for the wreck, and followed 
my father when I was four months old." 

As swirls of spray dasheci in her face, 

k 'Her eyes bad looks like {.risoned birds." 

"Captain, I have read somewhere of a Dutch 
painter who, in his passionate longing to por- 
tray accurately such scenes as this, had himself 
lashed to the deck of a vessel during a terrific 
gale, where he could study and note the pe- 
culiar aspects, so difficult, to render correctlj r . 
I am tempted to follow his example. Doubt- 
less you could furnish a rope for such a pur- 
pose." 

" Not even a bit of twine. Come down 
instantly, Miss Grey. I can't afford the lux- 
ury of a physician on board ; and if you 
should be so unfortunate as to catch a catarrh 
or spell of pneumonia by this piece of impru- 
dence, I should h>e distressed to death and 
frightened out of my wits. Come down at 
once." 

About noon the fury of the gale subsided, 
the sun looked out through rifts in the scudding 
clouds, and toward night fields of quiet 'blue 
were once more visible. By next morning the 
weather had cleared up, wit h a brisk westerly 
wind; but the sea still rolled heavily; and 
Eric, unable to bear the motion, kept below, 
loath to trust himself on his feet. Electra 
strove to while away the tedious time by read- 
ing aloud to him ; but mai ij* a yearning look 
was cast toward the deck, iind finally she left 
him with a few books, and ran up to the open 
air. 

On the afternoon of the third day after 
leaving Havana she was sitting on a buffalo- 
robe stretched near the stern, watching the 
waves and graceful curls ol ' foam that marked 
the schooner's path, and forgetful 'for a season 
of the fifth volume of « Modern Painters" 



which lay open beside her. The wind had 
blown back her straw hat, and her short black 
hair fluttered about a face fully exposed to 
view. 

The captain had been tuning a guitar for 
some moments, and now drew near, throwing 
himself down on the buffalo-robe. 

" What are you staring at so solemnly V 
Tell me what you are thinking of." 

'• If you are really curious, you are welcome 
to know. I was only watching the wake of 
the vessel and thinking of that beautiful 
simile of Coleridge in the ' Friend :' ' Human 
experience, like the stern-lights of a ship at 
sea, illumines only the' path we have passed 
over.' " 

Her clear olive cheeks burned and her 
great shadowy elfish eyes kindled, as was their 
wont when her feelings were deeply stirred. 

" 1 believe you are an artist, Miss Grey ?" 

" 1 am trying to become one, sir. Before 
we leave you 1 want you to examine some of 
my sketches, and select the one which you like 
best. It will afford me great pleasure to paint 
it for you, as a feeble, token of my gratitude and 
appreciation of your kindness." 

" Thank you. I hope the day is not distant 
when I shall have my wife with me once more, 
and then I shall beg you to paint her portrait 
for me." 

" Where is she ?" 

" At our home in Maryland." 

" Are you a Marylander, Captain." 

" Oh, yes ! but that is no place for true men 
now. Nothing can be accomplished there at 
this juncture, and those who are true to the 
Constitution and the South have joined the Con- 
federate service in one form or another. We 
shall have to hang that Infamous traitor, Hicks, 
before we can free the state ; and it is because 
I appreciate the lamentable, scarcity of arms 
and ammunition that I am engaged in my 
present business. If I arm ten thousand men, 
it will be better for our glorious cause than if 
I handled a musket myself. Poor, down-trod- 
den, handcuffed, humiliated Maryland ! Miss 
Grey, you have probably not heard our favorite 
new song, • -Maryland, my Maryland ?' I com- 
fort myself by singing it now and then, while 
hundreds of miles of stormy sea toss between 
me and mv home. Would you like to hear 
it ?" 

" By all means. In Europe I, of course, 
heard nothing." 

He struck a few full rich, chords and sang 
the stirring words, as only a true Marylander 
can who feels all the wrongs and ignominy of 
his state. 

His fine eyes were full of tears as he be- 
gan the last prophetic verse ; and when it was 
concluded, he sprang up and repeated trium- 
phantly : 

il She breathes— she burns 1 She '11 come ! she '11 come ! 
Maryland 1 My Maryland!" 



158 



MACARIA. 



" If such be the feeling of her sons, Captain, 
she will soon ' gird her beauteous limbs with 
steel,' and as a state come out proudly from 
amid the Abomination of Desolation. The 
music is peculiarly adapted to the burden of 
the noble thoughts, and investsthem with ex- 
traordinary power and pathos. The wonder- 
ful effect of national lyrics in such stormy 
times as these exemplifies the truth of the ad- 
mirable remark, which I have seen very 
felicitously applied to Beranger, but which 
was first quoted, I believe, by Fletcher of Sal- 
toun : ' If a man were permitted to make all 
the ballads, he need not care who should make 
the laws of a nation.' Oh ! what a sunset ! I 
never saw anything from Fiesole comparable 
to that." 

The sun had gone down below the water- 
line. From the zenith, eastward, the sky was 
violet-hued ; in the west, light cloud-flakes 
had gathered in fleecy masses and semi-spiral 
whiffs ; some burned like dashes of vermilion 
in lakes of beryl or chr)'soprase ; others, in pur- 
ple pomp, fringed their edges with gold ; snowy 
mountain ranges were tipped with fire, pil- 
lared cathedrals with domes of silver; and, 
beneath all, glared a liquid sea of rippling 
flame. A sky which only Buskin could de- 
scribe or Turner paint. 

" The West is an altar where earth daily 
gathers up her garlanded beauty in sacrificial 
offering to God. Agamemnon-like, she gives 
her loveliest." 

These words seemed to pass the girl's lips un- 
consciously as she leaned toward with hands 
clasped on her lap ; and smiling at the breath- 
less eagerness of her face, and the to him 
incomprehensible enthusiasm she evinced, the 
captain said : 

" If you are so very fond of such things, I 
wish you could see a midnight sky in the 
tropics as I have seen it, sailing between Rio 
Janeiro and Baltimore. I believe I have not 
much sentiment in my nature, but many a 
night I have lain awake on deck looking up 
at the stars that glowed, burned— I hardly 
know how to express it — like great diamonds 
clustered on black velvet. There are splendid 
constellations there, which you have never 
seen. When we win independence and peace 
I intend to have a fine steamship of my own, 
and then I shall, ask you to make a voyage 
with me as far as Uruguay. I will show you 
scenery in Brazil that will put you on your 
knees in adoration." 

" I shall accept the invitation when peace is 
made. Captain Wright, have you any chil- 
dren ?" 

" Yes — two ; a son and daughter ; the eldest 
five years old." 

" Then train them up to love sunsets, stars, 
flowers, clouds of all kinds. We are creatures 
of education, and I hold it the imperative duty 
of parents to teach their children to appreciate 
the beautiful things in this world which God 



has given to gild life with. There is grief and 
gloom enough at best ; and so much innocent 
exquisite joy maybe extracted from a thousand 
sources, that it seems philosophic, as well as a 
sacred duty, to reap the great harvest of hap- 
piness which calls to us from a proper appre- 
ciation of Beauty. I do not mean learned 
disquisitions, or tedious, scientific terminology. 
A child can admire, love an aster or a magno- 
lia, without understanding botany; may watch 
for and delight in such a sky as that, without 
classifying the clouds or designating the gor- 
geous tints in genuine artistic phraseology ; 
may clap its little hands, and shout with joy, 
in looking at the stars, without knowing 
Orion from Ursa Major. I have often been 
laughed at, and requested not to talk non- 
sense, when I have expressed these views ; 
have been sneered at as an enthusiast; but 
the longer I live the more earnest becomes 
my conviction of the truth of my opinion. 
The useful, the material necessities of life, 
require little study ; our comfort involves at- 
tention to them ; but the more ideal sources of 
peace and enjoyment demand care and culti- 
vation. I am an orphan ; I had no parental 
hand to guide my thoughts and aspirations to 
the Beautiful, in all its protean phases; my life 
has not been spent in the most flowery paths; 
but because, as a lonely child, I learned to 
derive pleasure from communion with Nature 
and Art, I have seasons of rapturous enjoy- 
ment which all California could not purchase. 
The useful, the practical, and the beautiful are 
not opposed — are even united — if people would 
only open their eyes to the truth. I am no 
morbid sentimentalist or dreaming enthusiast ; 
if nature intendedme for such, a cold, matter- 
of-fact world has cheated me out of my birth- 
right. I live, sustiiin myself by my art, as you 
by your sailor's craft ; it feeds and clothes my 
body as well as my mind. But I can't bear 
to walk through ;\ grand metropolitan cathe- 
dral of wonderful! and varied loveliness, and 
see the endless caravan of men and women 
tramping along its glorious aisles, looking 
neither to right nor left, oblivious of surround- 
ing splendors, gazing stolidly down at the bag 
of coins in their bands, or the bales of cotton 
or hogsheads of sugar or tobacco they are roll- 
ing before them. ;I long to lay my hand on 
their shoulders, to stay their hurrying steps, 
and whisper gently: 'Fellow-pilgrims, broth- 
ers, sisters, look up j at the glories that canopy 
you. Bend your ;knees one instant before 
yonder shrines of Beauty.' Oh ! {esthetics is 
a heavenly ladder, -where, like Jacob's angels, 
pure thoughts and lioly aspirations come from 
and go to God. Whatever tends to elevate 
and ennoble the soul is surely useful; and 
love of beauty is a mighty educational engine, 
which all may handle if they will. Captain, 
sow the seeds of appreciation early in your 
children's hearts, a nd they will thank you 
when you are an olcl silver-haired man." 



MACARIA. 



159 



Across that rosy sea tripped magic memo- 
ries. The sailor's heart found its distant ha- 
ven in the joyful, tender welcome of his blue- 
eyed wife — the lisping, birdish tone of his fair- 
browed, curly-headed children, stretching their 
little dimpled arms to clasp his neck ; and to 
the artist-woman came melancholy thoughts 
of by-gone years, shrouded in crumbling gar- 
lands — of hopes and feverish aspirations that 
had found their graves — of her future cheer- 
less life, her lonely destiny. 

For some time both were silent ; then the 
captain roused himself from his dream of home, 
and, passing his hand over his eyes, said : 

" Well, Miss Grey, I shall place you on Con- 
federate soil to-morrow, God willing." 

" Then you are going to Mobile ¥" 

" Yes ; I shall try hard to get in there early 
in the morning. You will know your fate be- 
fore many hours." 

" Do you regard this trial as particularly 
hazardous ?" 

" Of course ; the blockading squadrons grow 
more efficient and expert every day, and some 
danger necessarily attends every trial. Mo- 
bile ought to be pretty well guarded by this 
time." 

The wind was favorable, and the schooner 
ploughed its way swiftly through the autumn 
night. The captain did not close his eyes ; 
and just about daylight Electra and Eric, 
aroused by a sudden running to and fro, rose, 
and simultaneously made their appearance on 
deck. 

" What is the matter, Wright ?" 

" Matter ! why, look ahead, my dear fellow, 
and see where we are. Yonder is Sand isl- 
and light house, and a little to the right is 
Fort Morgan. But the fleet to the left is 
hardly six miles oft', and it will be a tight race 
if I get in." 

There was but a glimmering light rimming 
the East, where two or three stars burned with 
indescribable brilliance and beauty, and in 
the gray haze and wreaths of mist which 
curled up over the white-capped waves Elec- 
tra could distinguish nothing. The air was 
chill, and she said with a slight shiver : 

" I can't see any light-house." 

" There is, of course, no light there, these 
war-times, but you see that tall white tower, 
don't you ? There, look through my glass. 
That low dark object yonder is the outline 
of the fort; you will see it more distinctly 
after a little. Now, look right where my 
finger points ; that is the flag-staff. Look up 
over head — i have hoisted our flag, and pretty 
soon it will be a target for those dogs. Ha ! 
Mitchell ! Hutchinson ! they see us ! There 
is some movement among them. They are 
getting ready to cut us off this side of the 
Swash channel 1 We shall see." 

He had crowded on all sail, and the little 
vessel dashed through the light fog as if con- 
scious of her danger, and resolved to sustain 



herself gallantly. Day broke fully, sea and 
sky took the rich orange tint which only au- 
tumn mornings give, and in this glow a Feder- 
al frigate and sloop slipped from their moor- 
inn's and bore down threateningly on the 
graceful bounding schooner. 

" But for the fog, which puzzled me about 
three o'clock, I should have run by unseen, 
and they would never have known it till I 
was safe in Navy cove. We will beat them, 
though, as it is, by about twenty minutes. 
An hour ao-o I was afraid I should have to 
beach her. Are you getting frightened, Miss 
Grey V" 

" Oh, no ! I would not have missed this for 
any consideration. How rapidly the Federal 
vessels move. They are gaining on us." 

Her curling hair, damp with mistj clustered 
around her forehead ; she had wrapped a 
scarlet crape shawl about her shoulders, and 
stood, with her red lips apart and trembling, 
watching the exciting race. 

" Look at the frigate !" 

There was a flash at her bow, a curl of 
white smoke rolled up, then a heavy roar, 
and a thirty-two pounder round shot fell 
abqut a hundred yards to the right of the 
vessel. 

A yell of defiance rent the air from the 
crew of the " Dixie " — hats were waved— and, 
snatching off her shawl, Electra shook its 
bright folds to the stiffening breeze, while her 
hot cheeks matched them in depth of color. 

Another and another shot was fired in quick 
succession, and so accurate had they become 
that the last whizzed through the rigging, cut- 
ting one of the small ropes. 

" Humph ! they are getting saucy " said the 
captain, looking up coolly, when the yells of 
his crew ceased for a moment — and, with a 
humorous twinkle in his fine eyes, he added : 

" Better go below, Miss Grey ; they might 
clip one of your curls next time. The van- 
dals see you, I dare say, and your red flag 
stings their Yankee pride a little." 

" Do you suppose they can distinguish me ?" 

" Certainly. Through my glass I can see 
the gunners at work, and, of course, they see 
you. Should not be surprised if they aimed 
specially at you. That is the style of New 
England chivalry." 

Whiz — whiz ; both sloop and frigate were 
firing now in good earnest, and one shell ex- 
ploded a few yards from the side of the little 
vessel, tossing the foam and water over the 
group on deck. 

" They think you have hardly washed your 
face yet, Miss Grey, and are courteously 
anxious to perform the operation for you. 
But the game is up. Look yonder 1 Hurrah 
for Dixie ! and Fort Morgan !" 

" From the dim flag-staff battery bellowed a gun." 

The boom of a columbiad from the fort 
shook the air like thunder, and gave to the 



160 



MACARIA. 



blockaders the unmistakable assurance, " Thus 
far, and no farther." 

The schooner strained on its way ; a few 
shots fell behind, and soon, under the frowning 
bastions of the fort, whence the Confederate 
banner floated so proudly on the balmy Gulf 
breeze, spreading its free folds like an asgis, 
the gallant little vessel passed up the channel 
and came to anchor in Mobile bay, amid 
the shouts of crew and garrison, and welcomed 
by a salute of five guns. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

Immediately after her arrival in Mobile, 
Electra prepared to forward her despatches by 
Captain Wright, whose business called him to 
Richmond beibre his return to Cuba ; and an 
examination of them proved that the expedi- 
ent resorted to was perfectly successful. By 
moistening the edges of the drawing-paper, 
the tissue missive was drawn out uninjured, 
and, to Eric's surprise, she removed the 
carefully-stitched blue silk which lined the tops 
of her travelling gauntlets and extracted 
similar despatches, all of which were at once 
transmitted to the seat of government. 
While waiting for a boat, they heard the pain- 
ful tidings of Major Huntingdon's death, 
which increased Eric's impatience to reach 

W . The remainder of the journey was 

sad, and four days after leaving the Gulf City 

the lights of W and roar of the Falls 

simultaneously greeted the spent travellers. 
Having telegraphed of his safe arrival, the 
carriage was waiting at the depot, and An- 
drew handed to Electra a note from his 
mistress, requesting her to come at once to her 
house instead of going to the hotel. Eric ad- 
ded earnest persuasion, and, with some reluc- 
tance, the artist finally consented. They were 
prepared for the silent, solemn aspect of the 
bouse and for the mourning- dress of the 
orphan; but not for the profound calm, the 
melancholy, tearless composure with which she 
received them. Mental and physical suffering 
had sadly changed her. The oval face was 
thinner, and her form had lost its roundness, 
but the countenance retained its singular love- 
liness and the mesmeric splendor of the large 
eyes seemed enhanced. Of her father she did 
not speak, but gave her uncle a written state- 
ment of all the facts which she had been able 
to leather concerning the circumstances of his 
death ; and thus a tacit compact was formed 
to make no reference to the painful subject. 

As she accompanied Electra to the room 
prepared for her, on the night of her arrival, 
the latter asked with ill-concealed emotion : 

" Irene, can you tell me anything about 
Russell ? I am very anxious to hear some- 
thing of him." 

Irene placed the silver lamp on the table, 
and, standing in its glow, answered quietly : 



"He was wounded in the arm at Manassas, 
but retains command of his regiment and is 
doing very well. Dr. Arnold is the regimen- 
tal surgeon, and in one of his letters to me he 
mentioned that your cousin's wound was not 
serious." 

" I am going to him immediately." 

" Unfortunately, you will not be allowed to 
do so. The wounded were removed to Rich- 
mond as promptly as possible, but your cousin 
remained at Manassas, where ladies are not 
permitted." 

" Then I will write to him to meet me in 
Richmond." 

Irene made no reply, and, watching her all 
the while, Electra asked : 

" When did you see him last ? How did he 
look ?" 

" The day before he started to Richmond. 
He was very well, I believe ; but looked 
harassed and paler than usual. He is so ro- 
bust, however, that I think you need entertain 
no apprehension concerning his health." 

The inflexible features, the low, clear, firm 
voice were puzzling, and Electra's brow 
thickened and darkened as she thought : 

" Her father is dead now ; there is no obsta- 
cle remaining. She must love him, and yet 
she gives no sign of interest." 

" Good-night, Electra ; 1 hope you will sleep 
well after your fatiguing journey. Do not 
get up early. I will send your breakfast to 
your room whenever you wish it." 

She turned away, but the artist stepped be- 
fore her and caught up both her hands. 

" Oh, Irene ! it grieves me to see you look- 
ing so. Talk to me about your great pent-up 
sorrows and it will relieve you." 

" My sorrows can not be talked away. 
Graves never give back their dead. Good- 
night, my dear Electra." 

Electra looked at her sadly, wistfully ; and, 
suddenly throwing her arms about the queen- 
ly figure, kissed her white coll cheek. Irene 
returned the caress, withdrew from the em- 
brace, and passed to her own room. 

Jealous women are rarely generous toward 
their rivals, and Electra's exacting, moody 
character rendered it peculiarly difficult'for 
her to stifle her feelings. She would most 
certainly have cordially hated any other wom- 
an who stood between her and her cousin's 
heart; but before the nobility, the loftiness, 
the cool purity of Irene's soul, her own rest- 
less spirit bowed down with emotions nearly- 
akin to adoration. The solemn serenity of 
that pale brow awed and soothed the fevered, 
tumultuous nature of the artist ; and she had 
schooled herself to look upon her as Russell's 
future wife — with a pang of pain, it is true, but 
certainly with no touch of bitterness. She 
could endure that he should love so devotedly 
one who ministered at the shrine of Christian 
charity, and whose hands threw down, wher- 
ever she moved, the blessed largess of peace, 



MACARIA. 



L61 



contentment, and plenty. They stood in 
strange relationship, these two women. One 
ignorant of the absorbing love of the other for 
the man to whom she had given her heart 
long years ago; and that other conscious of 
an undying affection, which she silently iu- 
urned in her own bosom. 

Two days later they sat together before one 
of the parlor-windows. Electra was engaged 
in tearing off and rolling bandages, while 
Irene slowly scraped lint from a quantity of 
old linen which filled a basket at her side. 
Neither had spoken for some time ; the sadness 
of their occupation called up gloomy thoughts; 
but finally Electra laid down a roll of cloth, 
and, interlacing her slight fingers, said : 

" Irene, as you sit there you remind me of the 
'Cameo Bracelet.' You have seen it, of course?" 

" Yes ; it is one of the finest imaginative 
creations I have ever read ; and I can not 
divest myself of the apprehension that it ad- 
umbrates the fate of New Orleans." 

Electra watched the motion of her compan- 
ion's fingers, and in a rich, musical voice re- 
peated the words, beginning: 

'• She 's sifting lint for the brave who bled, 
And I watch her tingors float and flow 
Over the linen, as. thread by thread, 
It flakes to her lap like snow." 

"Irene, the women of the South must exer- 
cise an important influence in determinins 
our national destiny ; and because I felt this so 
fully I hurried home to share the perils and 
privations and trials of my countrywomen. It 
seems to me that no true son or daughter can 
lino-er in Europe now, with the broad ocean 
surging between them and the bloody soil of 
their native land. It is not my privilege to 
enter the army, and wield a sword or musket; 
but I am going to true womanly work — into 
the crowded hospitals, to watch faithfully over 
sick and wounded." 

" I approve your plan, think it your duty, 
and wish that 1 could start to Richmond with 
you to-morrow — for I believe that in this way 
we may save valuable lives. You should, as 
you have said, go on at once ; you have noth- 
ing to keep you ; your work is waiting for you 
there. But my position is different ; I have 
many things to arrange here before I can join 
you. I want to see the looms at work on the 
plantation ; and am going down next week 
with Uncle Eric, to consult with the overseer 
about several changes which I desire made 
concerning the negroes. When all this is ac- 
complished, I, too, shall come into the hospi- 
tals." 

" About what time may I expect you ?" 
"Not until you see me; but at the earliest 

practicable day." 

" Your uncle objects very strenuously to 

such a plan, does he not ?" 

" He will acquiesce at the proper time. 

Takecare 1 you are making your bandages too 



wide. 



11 



" A long dark vista stretches before the 
Confederacy. I can not, like many persons, 
feel sanguine of a speedy termination of the 
war." 

" Yes — a vista lined with the bloody graves 
of her best sons ; but beyond glimmers Free- 
dom — Independence. In that light we shall 
walk without stumbling. Deprived of liberty 
we can not exist, and its price was fixed when 
the foundations of time were laid. I believe 
the termination of the war to be contingent 
only on the method of its prosecution. Agath- 
oeles, with thirteen thousand men, established 
a brilliant precedent, which Scipio followed so 
successfully in the second Punic war ; and 
when our own able generals are permitted to 
emulate those illustrious leaders of antiquity, 
then, and I fear not until then, shall we be 
able to dictate terms of peace." 

"Your devotion, then, is unshaken, even by 
your sorrows." 

" Unshaken ! Does the precious blood of a 
sacrifice unsettle the holy foundations of the 
altar ?" 

" But, Irene, if you could have foreseen all 
that Secession has cost you V" 

The mourner raised her eyes from the snowy 
heap of lint, and answered with impressive 
earnestness and pathos : 

" Could I have foreseen the spirit which 
actuates the North — the diabolical hate and 
fiendishness which its people have manifested — 
and had I known that resistance would have 
cost the lives of all in the Confederacy, I 
should have urged Secession as the only door 
of escape from political bondage. llather 
would 1 have men, women, and children fill 
one wide, common grave, than live in subjec- 
tion to, or connection with, a people so de- 
praved, unscrupulous, and Godless. Electra, 
national, like individual life, which is not no- 
ble, free, and honorable, is not worth the liv- 
ing. A people who can survive their liberty 
are beneath contempt ; and to-day, desolate 
though I am, I would sooner take my place by 
my father's side than recall him to live a sub- 
ject of the despotic government at Washing- 
ton. Even when I believed the friendly pro- 
fessions of thousands at the North — when I 
believed in the existence of a powerful con- 
stitutional and conservative party — I was, from 
the beginning, a Secessionist ; and now that 
the majk of political cant is stripped from 
them, I am more than ever convinced of the 
correctness of my views and the absolute ne- 
cessity of the step we took. The ultimate 
result can never affect the question of the 
right and propriety of Secession, though it 
may demonstrate the deplorable consequences 
of our procrastination. In attestation of the 
necessity of separation stand the countless 
graves of our dear and gallant dt-ad. I look 
to a just God to avenge them and deliver us." 

" But do you still cling to a beiief in the 
possibility of republican forms of government,? 



162 



MACAEIA. 



This is a question which constantly disquiets 
me." 

"My faith in that possibility is unshaken. 
Entire self-abnegation I certainly expected, 
hoped for, on the part of our people ; and I 
still feel assured that the great masses are 
capable of patriotism as sublime as the world 
ever witnessed, and that our noble armies have 
bad no equal in the history of our race. 
Nevertheless, it is apparent to those who 
ponder the aspect of public affairs that dem- 
agogism crawls along its customary sinuous 
path, with serpent-eyes fastened on self-ag- 
grandizement. The pure ore of our country 
will be found in the ranks of our armies; and 
the few scheming politicians, plotting for 
position, for offices of emolument in civil or 
military departments, will prove the dross in 
the revolutionary crucible. I have no appre- 
hension for our future as long as demagogism 
and nepotism can be kept down ; for out of 
these grow innumerable evils — not the least of 
which is the intrusting of important posts to the 
hands of men who have none of the requisites, 
save their relationship to, or possession of the 
favor of, those in authority. If the nation will 
but mark the unworthy sons whose grasping, 
selfish ambition will not even be restrained in 
hours of direst peril to the cause, and brand 
them with Mene, Mene, we shall yet teach the 
world that self-government is feasible." 

" But in Europe, where the subject is eagerly 
canvassed, the impression obtains that in the 
great fundamental principle of our govern- 
ment will be found the germ of its dissolution. 
This war is waged to establish the right of 
Secession and the doctrine that ' all just gov- 
ernments rest on the consent of the governed.' 
With such a precedent, it would be worse 
than stultification to object to the secession of 
any state or states now constituting the Con- 
federacy, who at a future day may choose to 
withdraw from the present compact. Grant- 
ing our independence, which Europe regards 
as a foregone conclusion, what assurance have 
you (say they, gloating, in anticipation, over 
the prospect) that, so soon as the common 
dangers of war, which for a time cemented 
you so closely, are over, entire dibintegration 
will not ensue and all your boasts end in some 
dozen anarchical pseudo-republics, like those 
of South America and Mexico '! Irene, I con- 
fess I have a haunting horror of the influence 
of demagogues on our future. You know Sir 
Robert Walpole once said , ' Patriots are very 
easily raised. You have but to refuse an un- 
reasonable request, and up springs a patriot' 
I am afraid that disappointed politicians will 
sow seeds of dissension among us." 

" That is an evil which our legislators must 
guard against by timely provision. We are 
now, thank God ! a thoroughly homogeneous 
people, with no antagonistic systems of labor, 
necessitating conflicting interests. As states, 
we are completely identified in commerce and 



agriculture, and no differences need arise. 
Purified from all connection with the North, 
and with no vestige of the mischievous ele- 
ment of New England Puritanism, which, like 
other poisonous Mycelium, springs up pertina- 
ciously where even a shred is permitted, we 
can be a prosperous and noble people. Rather 
than witness our national corruption through 
the thousand influences which have so often 
degraded people of vast wealth, I would gladly 
welcome the iron currency and frugal public 
tables of Lycurgus. One possible source of 
evil has occurred to me. Unless our planters 
everywhere become good agricultural chemists, 
and by a moderate outlay renew their lands 
every year, the planting interest will gradually 
drift westward in pursuit of fresh fertile fields, 
and thus leave such of the more eastern states 
as possess great advantages in the water line 
to engage in manufactures of various kinds. 
That negro labor is by no means so profitable 
in factory as field seems well established; and 
if this condition of affairs is allowed and en- 
couraged, contrariety of interests will soon 
show itself, and demagogues will climb into 
place by clamoring for ' protection.' Heaven 
preserve us from following the example of 
New England and Pennsylvania ! But if free- 
trade is declared, and our ports are thrown 
open to all the markets of the world, except 
Lincolndom, the evil will be arrested. True, 
Europe has no love for the Confederacy, and 
we certainly have as little for trans-Atlantic 
nations — but the rigid laws of political econo- 
my forge links of amity. If our existence as a 
Republic depends upon the perpetuity of the 
institution of slavery, then, it seems to me, that 
the aim of our legislators should be to render 
us par excellence an agricultural people — and, 
with the exception of great national arsenals 
and workshops, to discourage home manufac- 
tories. 1 hope, too, for an amendment of our 
constitution, which shall render the members 
of the cabinet, and all our foreign ministers, 
subject entirely to the appointment of Con- 
gress, and the tenure of the latter class of offi- 
cials for life or good behavior, instead of being 
selected by the President, as heretofore, for 
four or six years. To the disgraceful hunt for 
office is to be attributed much of the acrimony 
of party-feeling which characterizes presiden- 
tial campaigns. When our Presidents are se- 
lected and supported solely for their intrinsic 
ability and nobility of soul, instead of for the 
places they will confer on their party, we 
shall begin to seek out our Cincinnatus and 
Aratus, and the premium for demagogism will 
be lost. But we have statesmen among us 
who must see all these evils, and doubtless 
they will arrest them iu time. We are paying 
too high a price for our freedom to have it 
stolen from us in future by unscrupulous po- 
litical gamesters, who would sacrifice a valua- 
ble principle of government in order to secure 
a foreign appointment." 



MACARIA. 



168 



" I can not avoid feeling sceptical of the 
public virtue, when seasons of prosperity and 
great wealth succeed these years of trial ; and 
of late, in casting the horoscope of our younf 
Confederacy, I have frequently recalled that 
fine passage in Montagu's ' Reflections on the 
Rise and Fall of Republics:' 'Greece, once 
the nurse of arts and sciences, the fruitful 
mother of philosophers, law-givers, and heroes, 
now lies prostrate under the iron yoke of igno- 
rance and barbarism. . Carthage, 
once the mighty sovereign of the ocean, and 
the centre of universal commerce, which 
poured the riches of all nations into her lap, 
now puzzles the inquisitive traveller in his re- 
searches after even the vestiges of her ruins. 
And Rome, the mistress of the 
universe, which once contained whatever was 
esteemed great or brilliant in human nature, 
i-3 now sunk into the ignoble seat of whatever 
is esteemed mean and infamous. 
Should Faction again predominate and suc- 
ceed in its destructive views, and the dastard- 
ly maxims of luxury and effeminacy universal- 
ly prevail amongst us, such, too, 
will be the fate of Britain ;' and I may add of 
the Confederacy — for where are the safeguards 
of its public purity V" 

Electra had finished the bandages and was 
walking slowly before the windows, and, with- 
out looking up from the lint, which she was 
tying into small packages, Irene answered : 

" The safeguards will be found in the moth- 
ers, wives, and sisters of our land." 
i " Ah ! but their hands are tied ; and they 
walk but a short, narrow path, from hearth- 
stone to threshold, and back again. They 
have, I know, every inclination to exert a re- 
straining influence, but no power to utilize it. 
Sometimes I almost fear that the fabled Norse 
Ragnarok is darkening over this continent. 
The monsters, Midgard Serpent, Fenris, and 
all, have certainly been unloosed at the 
North." 

" Electra, though we are very properly de- 
barred from the ' tented field,' I have entire 
confidence that the cause of our country may 
be advanced, and its good promoted, through 
the agency of its daughters ; for, out of the 
dim historic past come words of encourage- 
ment. Have you forgotten that, when Sparta 
forsook the stern and sublime simplicity of her 
ancient manners, Kin" Agis found himself un- 
able to accomplish his scheme of redeeming 
his degenerate country from avarice and cor- 
ruption, until the ladies of Sparta gave their 
consent and support to the plan of reform ? 
Southern women have no desire to usurp leg- 
islative reins; their appropriate work consists 
in moulding the manners and morals of the 
nation ; in checking the wild excesses of fash- 
ionable life, and the dangerous spirit of ex- 
travagance ; of reckless expenditure in dress, 
furniture, and equipage, which threatened ru- 
inous results before the declaration of hostili- 



ties. Noble wives, who properly appreciate 
the responsibility of their position, should 
sternly rebuke and frown down the disgrace- 
ful idea, which seems to be gaining ground 
and favor in our cities, that married women 
may, with impunity, seek attentions and ad- 
miration abroad. Married belles and married 
beaux are not harmless, nor should they be 
tolerated in really good society. Women who 
so far forget their duties to their homes and 
husbands, and the respect due to public opin- 
ion, as to habitually seek for happiness in the 
mad whirl of so-called fashionable life, ignor- 
ing household obligations, should be driven 
from well-bred, refined circles, to hide their 
degradation at the firesides they have dis- 
graced. That wives should constantly endeav- 
or to cultivate social graces and render them- 
selves as fascinating as possible, I hold their 
sacred duty ; but beauty should be preserved, 
and accomplishments perfected, to bind their 
husband's hearts more closely, to make their 
homes attractive, instead of being constantly 
paraded before the world for the unholy pur- 
pose of securing the attentions and adulation 
of other gentlemen. I do not desire to see 
married women recluses ; on the contrary, I 
believe that society has imperative claims upon 
them, which should be promptly met and 
faithfully and gracefully discharged. But 
those degraded wives, who are never, seen with 
their husbands when they can avoid it — who 
are never happy unless riding or walking with 
strangers, or receiving their attentions at thea- 
tres, concerts, or parties — are a disgrace to the 
nation which they are gradually demoralizing 
and corrupting. From the influence of these 
few deluded weak libels on our sex may God 
preserve our age and country ! They are ut- 
terly unworthy the noble work which calls 
loudly to every true Southern woman. States- 
men are trained up around the mother's arm- 
chair, and she can imbue the boy with lofty 
sentiments, and inspire him with aims whieh, 
years hence, shall lead him in congressional 
halls to adhere to principles, to advance the 
Truth — though, thereby, votes foi the next 
election fall away, like stricken leaves in 
autumn. What time has the married belle for 
this holy hearthstone mission ? The conscien- 
tious, devoted, and patriotic Christian women 
of a nation are the safeguards of i ts liberties 
and purity." 

" All perfectly true, and very encouraging 
in the abstract; but, Irene, how many women 
do you suppose sit down and ponder their in- 
dividual responsibility V" 

" Electra, my friend, are you sure that you 
do ? Your profession will give you vast influ- 
ence in forming public taste, and I hope much 
from its judicious use. Be careful that you 
select only the highest, purest types to offer 
to your countrymen and women, when .t'eace 
enables us to turn our attention to the great 
work of building up a noble school of Southern 



164 



MACARIA. 



Art. We want no feeble, sickly sentimentali- 
ty, nor yet tbe sombre austerity which seems to 
pervade your mind, judging from the works 
you have shown me." 

A slight quiver crossed the mobile features 
of the artist as she bit her full lip and asked : 

" What would you pronounce the distin- 
guishing characteristic of my works ? I saw, 
■yesterday, that you were not fully satisfied." 

" A morbid melancholy, which you seem to 
have fostered tenderly, instead of crushing 
vigorously. A disposition to dwell upon the 
stern and gloomy aspects of the physical 
world, and to intensify and reproduce abnor- 
mal and unhappy phases of character. Your 
breezy, sunshiny, joyous moods you have kept 
under lock aod key while in your studio." 

"You are right; but I merely dipped my 
crush in the colors of my own life, and if Day- 
work is gray and sad and shadowy, it is no 
lault of mine. One who sits at her easel, 
listening ever to 

' The low footsteps of each coming ill,' 

should be pardoned if her canvas glows not 
with gala occasions and radiant faces that 
have never looked beyond the glittering con- 
fines of Aladdin's palace. Remember, the. 
' lines ' did not fall to me ' in pleasant places,' 
and it is not strange that I sometimes paint 
desert, barren scenes, without grapes of Eshcol 
or Tokay. Irene, 

' . Long green clays, 

Worn bare of grass ami sunshine — long calm uights 
From which the silken sleeps were netted out — 
Be witness for me, with no amateur's 
Irreverent haste and busy idleness 
I 've set myself to Art !' 

I admit the truth of your criticism, and I 
Lave struggled against the spirit which hovers 
with clouding wings overall that I do; but 
the shadow has not lifted — God knows wheth- 
er it ever will. Do you recollect, among those 
fine illustrations of Poe's works which we ex- 
amined yesterday, the dim spectral head and 
sable pinions brooding mournfully over ' The 
City in the Sea '?' Ah ! its darkening coun- 
terpart flits over me. You have finished your 
work;come to my room for a few minutes.'' 

They went up stairs together; and as Elec- 
tra unlocked and bent over a large square 
trunk, i:er companion noticed a peculiar curl 
about the lines of the mouth and a heavy 
scowl on the broad brow. 

" I want to show you the only bright, shin- 
ing face I ever painted." 

She unwrapped an oval portrait, placed it 
on the mantlepiece, and, stepping back, fixed 
her gaze on Irene. She saw a tremor cross 
the quiet mouth, and for some seconds the sad 
eyes dwelt upon the picture as if fascinated. 

" It must have been a magnificent portrait 
of your cousin, years ago ; but he has changed 
materially since it was painted. He looks 
Emch older, sterner, now." 



" Would you have recognized it under any 
circumstances V" 

" Yes — anywhere ; if I had stumbled over 
it in the dusty crypts of Luxor, or the icy 
wastes of Siberia. I have never seen but one 
head that resembled that, or eyes that were in 
any degree comparable." 

" Irene, I value this portrait above every- 
thing else save the original ; and, as I may be 
called to pass through various perils, I want 
you to take care of it for me until I come 

back to W . It is a precious trust, 

which I would be willing to leave in no hands 
but yours." 

" You forget that, before long, I too, shall go 
to Virginia." 

" Then pack it away carefully among your 
old family pictures, where it will be secure. I 
left my large and best paintings in Italy, with 
Aunt Ruth, who promised to preserve and 
send them to me as soon as the blockade 
should be raised." 

'• What are Mr. Young's views concerning 
this war ?" 

" He utterly abhors the party who inau- 
gurated it, and the principles upon which it 
is waged. Says he will not return to America, 
at least for the present ; and as soon as he can 
convert his property into money, intends to 
move to the South. He opposed and regret- 
ted Secession until he saw the spirit of the 
Lincoln dynast)-, and from that time he ac- 
knowledged that all hope of union or recon- 
struction was lost. Have you heard anything 
from Harvey since the troubles began ?" 

" It is more than a year since 1 received a 
line from him. He was then still in the West, 
but made no allusion to the condition of the 
country." 

" Irene, I hope to see Russell soon. You 
were once dear friends ; have you any mes- 
sage for him — any word of kind remem- 
brance ?" 

One of Irene's hands glided to her side, but 
she answered composedly : 

" He knows that he always has my best 
wishes ; but will expect no message." 

On the following day Eleetra started to 
Richmond, taking with her a large supply of 

hospital stores which the ladies of W 

had contributed. 

Eric had proposed to his niece the expe- 
diency of selling the Hill and becoming an 
inmate of his snug, tasteful, bachelor home ; 
but she firmly refused to consent to this plan ; 
said that she would spend her life, in the house 
of her birth ; and it was finally arranged that 
her uncle should reserve such of the furniture 
as he valued particularly, and offer the residue 
for sale, with the pretty cottage, to which he 
was warmly attached. During the remainder 
of autumn Irene was constantly engaged in 
superintending work for the soldiers, in pro- 
viding for several poor families in whom she 
was much interested, and in frequent visits to 



MACABIA. 



165 



the plantation, where she found more than 
enough to occupy her mind ; and Eric often 
wondered at the admirable system and punct- 
uality she displayed — at the grave composure 
with which she discharged her daily duties, 
and the invariable reticence she observed 
with regard to her past life. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

" Did you ring, Mass' Eric ?" 

" Yes ; has Irene come home ?" 

" Not yet, sir." 

" Bring some more wood." 

Owing to the scarcity of coal, the grate had 
been removed and massive brass andirons sub- 
stituted. John piled them with oak-wood, 
swept the hearth, and retired. It was a cold 
evening ; there had been sleet the night 
before ; the trees were glittering with icicles ; 
but in the afternoon the sky cleared, and a 
sharp northwester promised good weather. 
Eric drew the sofa nearer the blazing fire 
and laid himself down to rest — waiting impa- 
tiently for the return of his niece,, who had 
been absent since dinner. The library looked 
cheerful, comfortable, luxurious. Irene's pret- 
ty work-basket sat on the little mosaic table, 
close to the hearth ; and by its side lay a vol- 
ume of Tennyson open at " Locksley Hall," 
with a half-finished glove which she had been 
knitting that morning resting on the pagei 
Upon the low mantlepiece stood two ruby- 
colored bulb-glasses containing purple hya- 
cinths in full bloom ; between them a fluted 
crystal vase of perfect white camellias from the 
greenhouse ; and in a rich bohemian goblet 
three early golden crocuses looked out from a 
mass of geranium leaves. Bronze busts of 
Kepler, Hersehel, and La Place crowned the 
heavy carved bookcases ; the soft silvery 
glow of the lamp fell upon the form of the 
cripple, wrapped in a warm plaid dressing- 
gown, and showed the thin, sharply-cut visage 
of Paragon, who had curled himself lazily on 
the velvet rug. The room was very still, save 
the sound of the crackling fire and the chirp- 
ing of the canary, whose cage had been placed 
on one of the broad window-sills. After a 
time, the door opened and the mistress came in. 

•' Irene ! you must be nearly frozen. What 
kept you out so late?" 

" I had more than usual to attend to at the 
Asylum this afternoon.'"' 

" What was the matter?" 

" We have a new Matron, and I was particu- 
larly anxious that she should start right in one 
or two respects. I waited, too, in order to see 
the children at supper and satisfy myself about 
the cooking." 

" How many orphans are there in the Asy- 
lum?" 

" Thirty-four. I admitted two this evening 



— children of one of our soldiers who died from 
a wound received at Leesburg." 

" Poor little things ! I am afraid you will 
find numbers of similar instances before this 
war is at an end." 

" We will try to find room for all such cases. 
The buiiding will accommodate one hundred." 

" You must be very cold ; I will make John. 
bring you a glass of wine." 

" No, sir ; I do not need it. My shawl was 
thick and warm." 

Resting his elbow on the silken cushions, 
her uncle leaned forward so as to see her 
countenance distinctly. She had put out one 
hand on the shining head of her dog, who now 
sat close to her chair, gazing solemnly into the 
red coals ; and her posture, as she rested far 
back against the morocco lining, betokened 
weariness. By contrast with the thick folds 
of her bombazine dress the face gleamed sin- 
gularly white, and the curling brown lashes 
made fringy shadows on the polished.cheeks. 

" Irene." 

She turned her head slightly and raised her 
eyes. 

" Did you receive a letter which I sent to 
your room ?" 

" Yes, sir. It was from Dr. Arnold." 

" He has established himself in Richmond." 

" Yes, sir ; his recent attack of rheumatism 
unfitted him for service in the field." 

" I had a letter from Colonel Aubrey to-day. 
He wants to buy my house." 

She made no comment, and her eyes droop- 
ed again to the perusal of the strange shapes 
which danced and flickered on the burnished 
andirons. 

" What use do you suppose he has for it T 

" I can not imagine, unless he intends it as 
a home for Electra." 

" What a witch you are at guessing ; that is 
exactly it. He says, in this letter, that he may 
not survive the war, and wishes to have the 
assurance that his cousin is comfortably pro- 
vided for before he goes into another battle. 
His offer is liberal, and I shall accept it." 

" Well, I am glad she will own it — for I have 
often heard her speak of those old poplar- 
trees in the front-yard. She has always ad- 
mired the place." 

" I trust Aubrey will come back safely, 
marry some woman worthy of his heart and 
intellect, and live there happily himself. Do 
you believe the current report that he is en- 
gaged to Salome ?" 

" No, sir." 

" Why not ? She is certainly a brilliant 
girl, and an undoubted beauty." 

" Such a temperament as hers would scarce- 
ly suit him, I think." 

• " But people often select their opposites." 

" And for that reason I suspect that she 
would not make him happy. What a "-lowin" 
beauty she is ! As I went to the Asylum I 
saw her riding with some gentlemen, and I 



166 



MACAEIA. 



felt as if I could warm my fingers by holding 
them near her burning cheeks. Such com- 
plexions as hers are very rare at the South." 

" I should not wonder if Russell married her, 
alter all." 

He hoped for some change of countenance 
implying concern, but no shadow hovered over 
the fair face. There was no uneasy movement 
ot the dimpled hand which lay on Paragon's 
head, nor could he detect the faintest indica- 
tion of interest. At this jirneture the tea-bell 
summoned thena to the dining-room, and she 
allowed her uncle no opportunity of renewing 
the conversation. When the meal was con- 
cluded and they had returned to the library, 
Irene drew her table and basket near the 
lamp and resumed her knitting. The invalid 
frowned, and asked impatiently : 

" Can't you buy as many of those coarse 
things as you want, without toiling night and 
day '>" 

"in the first place, I do not toil ; knitting is 
purely mechanical, very easy, and I like it. 
In the second place, I can not buy them, and 
our men need them when they are standing 
guard. It is cold work holding a musket in 
the open air such weather as this." 

He looked annoyed and dived deeper among 
his cushions. 

" Don't you feel as well as usual this even- 
ing, Uncle Eric V" 

" Oh 1 I am well enough — but I hate the 
everlasting motion of those steel needles." 

She rolled up the glove, put it in her bas- 
net, and rose. 

" Shall I read to you ? Or, how would you 
iike a game of chess ?" 

" I do not expect you to humor my whims. 
Above all things, my child, I dread the thought 
of becoming troublesome to you." 

" You can never be that, Uncle Eric ; and I 
shall always be glad if you will tell me how I 
can make your time pass more pleasantly. I 
Know this house must seem gloomy enough at 
Dest. Let us try a game of chess ; we have 
not played since you came from Europe." 

She brought the board and they sat down 
to the most quiet and absorbing of all games. 
Both played well, and when Eric was finally 
vanquished he was surprised to find, from the 
hands of the clock, that the game had lasted 
nearly two hours. As she carefully replaced 
the ivory combatants in their box, Irene 
said : 

" Uncle, you know that I have long desired 
and intended to go to Richmond, but various 
circumstances combined to keep me at home. 
I felt that I had duties here which must first be 
discharged ; now the time has come when I 
can accomplish my long-cherished plan. Dr. 
Arnold has taken charge of the hospital in 
Richmond which was established with the 

money we sent from W for the relief 

of our regiments. Mrs. Campbell is about to 
be installed as Matron, and I have to-day de- 



cided to join them. In his letter received this 
afternoon he orders me not to come, but I 
know that he will give me a ward when he 
finds me at his elbow. I am aware that you 
have always opposed this project, but I hope, 
sir, that you will waive your objections and go 
on with me next week." 

"It is a strange and unreasonable freak, 
which, I must say, I do not approve of. There 
are plenty of nurses to be hired, who have 
more experience and are every way far more 
suitable for such positions." 

" Uncle, the men in our armies are not 
hired to fight our battles ; and the least the 
women of the land can do is to nurse them 
when sick or wounded. The call is impera- 
tive. Mothers and wives are, in most in- 
stances, kept at home ; but I have nothing to 
bind me here. I have no ties to prevent me 
from giving my services in the only way in 
which I can aid the cause for which my fa- 
ther died. I feel it a sacred duty ; and, Uncle 
Eric, it is useless to argue the matter. I am 
determined to go at once. Will you accompa- 
ny me ?" 

" You will kill yourself." 

" I could not die in a better cause." 

" Is life so worthless, that you would rashly 
throw it away '?" 

'• By no means. I am able to endure what 
I undertake." 

" Does not one querulous invalid cripple 
sufficiently exercise your patience ?" 

" No, sir. Beside, I can take care of you 
in Richmond, as well as of others, who need 
me much more." 

" What do you propose to do with the house, 
meantime ?" 

"I shallsend the horses to the plantation, 
and take Andrew with me; he is an admirable 
nurse. Martha, also, whom I have tested on 
several occasions, can assist me greatly in the 
hospital. The other servants I shall leave 
here. John and Nellie will keep things in 
order. I have endeavored to foresee and re- 
move all obstacles to my departure." 

'• Ah ! but you have been so delicately 
nurtured, and the burden you would take 
upon yourself is so onerous." 

" I have counted the cost." 

" She laid her hand gently on his whitening 
hair, and added pleadingly : 

" Do not oppose me, Uncle Eric. I want 
your sanction in all that I do. There are only 
two of us left ; go with me as my adviser — pro- 
tector. I could not be happy if yju were 
not with me." 

His eyes filled instantly ; and, drawing her 
close to him, he exclaimed tremulously : 

" My dear Irene ! there is nothing I would 
not do to make you happy. Happy, I fear 
you never -will be. Ah ! don't smile and con- 
tradict me ; I know the difference between 
happiness and resignation. Patience, uncom- 
plaining endurance, never yet stole the gar- 



MACARIA. 



167 



ments of joy. I will go with you to Virginia, 
or anywhere else that you wish." 

" Thank you, Uncle Erie. I will try to 
make you forget the comforts of home, and 
give you no reason to regret that you sacrificed 
your wishes and judgment to mine. I must 
not keep you up any later." 

She rang for Willis, and, taking a taper 
from the stand, proceeded to light the small 
lamp which had been placed in readiness 
on the table. With its use her uncle had 
long been familial-. 

" You, surely, are not going up to that ice- 
house such a night as this ? That marble 
floor will freeze you !" 

" I shall not stay long. It is the first clear 
night we have had for more than a week, and 
I can not lose such" an opportunity. The 
nebula in Orion will show splendidly, and, 

'The Pleiads rising through the mellow shade, 
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver 
braid.'" 

" What a devotee you are ! What a bigot 
you would have been five hundred years 
ago! What a tireless Rosicrucian you would 
have made ! What an indefatigable traveller 
after mythic Sangraal ! You very often re- 
mind me of an aphorism of Emerson : ' No 
man is quite sane ; each has a vein of folly in 
his composition, a slight determination of blood 
to the head, to make sure of holding him hard 
to some one point which Nature has taken to 
heart.' " 

" I am no more insane than Emerson is or- 
thodox or infallible, and a mild form of 
Sabeism ought to be tolerated even in this 
age, when it is used as a glittering ladder to 
God, to purity, and to peace. Here I am con- 
tinually oppressed with a sense of desolation; 
as I walk these silent rooms, Father ! Fa- 
ther ! is the cry of my lonely soul. But yon- 
der I forget my loss. In the observatory my 
griefs slip! from me as did Christian's burden. 
I remember only the immeasurable heights 
and depths, the infinitude, the grandeur, and 
the glory of the universe — and there, as no- 
where else, I can bow myself down, and say, 
humbly and truly, ' Not my will, oh, God ! 
but thine !' Good-night, Uncle Eric. Willis, 
shut Paragon in his house before you go to 
sleep." 

She wrapped a heavy black shawl around 
her shoulders, and, taking the lamp, went up 
to the observatory. 

The Army of the Potomac had fallen back 
to Yorktown when Irece reached Richmond ; 
and the preparations which were being made 
for the reception of the wounded nave melan- 
choly premonition of impending battles. 

Dr. Arnold had been intrusted with the 
supervision of several hospitals, but gave 
special attention to one established with the 
funds contributed by the citizens of W , 



and thither Irene repaired on the day of her 
arrival. 

In reply to her inquiries, she was directed to 
a small room and found the physician seated 
at a table, examining a bundle of papers. He 
saw only a form darkening the door-way, and, 
without looking up, called out gruffly : 

" Well, what is it ? What do you want ?" 

" A word of welcome." 

He sprang to his feet instantly, holding out 
both hands. 

" Dear child ! Queen ! God bless you ! 
How are you V Pale as a cloud and thin as a 
shadow. What the deuce are you doing here V 
I ordered you to stay at home, did n't I V" 

He had caught her hands eagerly to his lips 
and held them like a vice. 

" Home was too dreary. I wanted to see 
you, to be with you once more, to work here 
in your sight, by your direction. Don't scold 
and growl at me for coming. Give me a mor- 
sel of affection; oh, Doctor! I am hungry! 
hungry and desolate." 

She lifted her sorrow-stricken face to his 
and felt his tears fall thick on her silky hair. 

" Dear child! I knew how it would be. I 
wanted to go to you, but I could not. Irene, 
don't look so dreary and hopeless ; it wrings 
my heart to see that expression on your mouth. 
You know I am glad to have you, my treasure, 
my beloved child. You know that you are the 
very light of my life. Growl at you, Queen ! 
I will see myself handed first! Sit down here 
by me. Where is Eric ?" 

" He was much fatigued, and I left him at 
the hotel." 

" You have been ill a long time, Irene, and 
have kept it from me. That was not right ; 
you should have been honest in your letters. 
A pretty figure you will cut nursing sick folks ! 
Work in my sight, indeed ! If you say work 
to me again I will clap you into a lunatic- 
asylum, and keep you there till the war is over. 
Turn your face to the light." 

" I am well enough in body ; it is my mind 
only that is ill at ease ; my heart only that is 
sick — sorely sick. Here I shall find employ- 
ment, and, I trust, partial forgetfuiness. Pat 
me to work at once ; that will be my best 
medicine." 

"And you really missed me, Queen ?" 

" Yes, inexpressibly; I felt my need of you 
continually. You must know how I cling to 
you now." 

Again he drew her little hands to his granite 
mouth and seemed to muse for a moment. 

" Doctor, how is Electra 1" 

" Very well — that is, as well as such an 
anomalous, volcanic, torrid charaeter ought to 
be. At first she. puzzled me (and that is an 
insult I find it hard to forgive), but finally I 
found the clue. She is indefatigable, and as- 
tonishingly faithful as a nurse; does ail her 
duty, and more, which is saying a ?ood deal — 
for I am a hard task-m?..-;ter. Are n't vou 



188 



MAC ARIA 



afraid that I will work you more unmercifully 
than a Yankee factory-child or a Cornwall 
miner ? See here, Queen ; what do you sup- 
pose brought Electra to Richmond ?" 

"A desire to render some service to the sick 
and suffering, and also to be comparatively 
near her cousin." 

"Precisely; only the last should be first, 
and the first last. Russell is a perverse, un- 
grateful dog." 

As he expeeted, she "lanced up at him, but 
refrained from comment. 

" Yes, Irene — he is a soulless scamp. Here 
is his cousin entirely devoted to him, loving 
him above everything else in this world, and 
yet he has not even paid her a visit, except in 
passing through to Yorktown with his com- 
mand. He might be a happy man, if he would 
but open his eyes and see what is as plain as 
the nose on my face — which, you must admit, 
requires no microscope. She is a gifted wom- 
an, and would suit him exactly — even better 
than my salamander, Salome." 

A startled, incredulous expression came into 
Irene's large eyes, and gradually a look of 
keen pain settled on her features. 

"Aha ! did that idea never occur to you 
before V" 

" Never, sir; and you must be mistaken." 

" Why, child ? The fact is patent. You 
women profess to be so quick-witted, too, in 
such matters — I am amazed'at your obtuseness. 
She idolizes Aubrey." 

" It is scarcely strange that she should ; she 
has no other relatives near her, and it is natu- 
ral that she should love her cousin." 

" I tell you I know what I say i she will 
never love anybody else as she loves A UDr ey. 
Beside, what is it to you whether he marries 
her or not '?" 

" I feel attached to her and want to see her 
happy." 

"As Russell's wife ?" 

" No, sir. The marriage of cousins was 
always revolting to me." 

She did not flinch from his glittering gray 
eye, and her grieved look deepened. 
• " Is she here ? Can I see her ?" 

'' She is not in this building, but I will 
inform her of your arrival. I have become 
much interested in her. She is a brilliant, 
erratic creature, and has a soul! which can 
not safely be predicated of all the sex, nowa- 
day. Where are you going ?" 

" Back to Uncle Eric. Will you put me in 
the same hospital with Electra and Mrs. Camp- 
bell V" 

" I will put you in a straight-jacket ! I 
promise you that." 

Electra was agreeably surprised at the un- 
usual warmth with which Irene received her 
some hours later ; but little suspected why the 
lips lingered in their pressure of hers, or 
understood the wistful tenderness of the eyes 
which dwelt so fondly on her face. The icy 



wall of reserve had suddenly melted as if in 
the breath of an August noon, and dripped 
silently down among things long passed. Rus- 
sell's name was casually mentioned more than 
once, and Electra fell asleep that night wholly 
unconscious that the torn and crumpled pages 
of her heart had been thoroughly perused by 
the woman from whom she was most anxious to 
conceal the truth. 

Having engaged a suite of rooms near the 
hospital, a few days sufficed for preliminary 
arrangements, and Irene was installed in a 
ward of the building to which she had request- 
ed Dr. Arnold to appoint her. 

Thus, by different, by devious thorny paths, 
two sorrowing women emerged upon the broad 
highway of Duty, and, clasping hands, press- 
ed forward to the divinely-appointed goal — 
Womanly Usefulness. 

Only those who have faithfully ministered 
in a hospital can fully appreciate the onerous 
nature of the burdens thus assumed — can 
realize the crushing anxiety, the sleepless 
apprehension, the ceaseless tension of brain 
and nerve, the gnawing intolerable sickness 
and aching of heart over sufferings which 
no human skill can assuage ; and the silent 
blistering tears which are shed over corpses of 
men whose families kneel in far distant homes, 
praying God's mercy on dear ones lying at 
that moment stark and cold on hospital cots 
■ with strangers' hands about the loved limbs. 
Ah ! within these mournful penetralia are per- 
petually recurring scenes of woe, of resigna- 
tion, and of sublime endurance, transcending 
in pathos aught that fiction ever painted ; and 
as the Nation's martyrs drop swiftly down into 
nameless billowy graves, that fret the quiet 
green surface of our broad and sunny land, 
the bleeding tendrils of a Nation's sympathy 
trail athwart the rude head-stones, and from 
stern lips come the prophecy : 

" ... Let them slumber ! 

No King of Egypt in a pyramid 
Is safer from oblivio-n, though ho number 
Full seventy cerements for a coverlid. 
These Dead be seeds of life, and shall encumber 
The sad heart of the land until it loose 
The clammy clods and let out the spring growth 
In beatific green through every bruise. 
Each grave our nationality has pieced 
By its own majestic breadth, and fortified 
And pinned it deeper to the soil. Forlorn 
Of thanks be, therefore, no one of these graves!" 

Day by day, week after week, these tireless 
women- watchers walked the painful round 
from patient to patient, administering food 
and medicine to diseased bodies, and words of 
hope and encouragement to souls who shrank 
not from the glare and roar and carnage of 
battle — but shivered and cowered before the 
darling images which deathless memory called 
from the peaceful, happy Past. It was not 
wonderful that the homesick sufferers regard- 
ed them with emotions which trenched on 
adoration, or that often, when the pale thin 
faces lighted with a smile of joy at their ap- 



MACARIA. 



169 



proach, Irene and Electra felt that they had a 
priceless reward. 



CHAPTER XXXIV- 

" Mother,, I did not flinch ! They shot the 
flag out of my hand, and I bathed it with my 

blood when I fell on it. Here is the staff I 

held on to the very last. Don't you see it, 
Mother, all smeared and clotted with blood r" 

Raving with delirium, a light-haired, slender 
boy of seventeen summers strangled to rise 
from his cot, and, grasping a corner of the 
calico quilt, stretched it toward Irene, who 
sat a few yards off, spreading a blister. Lav- 
ing aside the ointment, she approached and 
took the extended hand. 

" Yes, Willie, I see it; and I know you did 
your duty. I will take care of the staff for 
you ; now go to sleep." 

" I can't sleep ; the din of the cannon wakes 
me. I want to go home. Mother, why don't 
you carry me to my own room, my own bed, 
where I can see Harry and hear Jessie sine ? 
Help me to my feet, Mother ; I promised to 
make a new flag-staff." 

His fair smooth cheeks were flushed with 
fever from the wound received at the Battle 
of Seven Pines,, and his beautiful dilated eyes 
gleamed unnaturally as he gazed appealingly 
at the tall form standing at his pillow— an ele- 
gant, queenly form, clad in mourning vest- 
ments, with spotless linen cuffs and collar and 
whit;: muslin apron. 

She placed her pearly hand on his hot brow 
and bent tenderly over him. 

"Not to-night, Willie. When you are 
stronger I will carry you to Harry and Jessie. 
Now you must try to sleep." 

" You '11 stay by me, Mother, if I shut my 
eyes ?" 

" Yes. I will not leave you." 

He smiled contentedly ; and while her cold 
fingers wandered soothingly over his forehead 
the long lashes fell upon his cheeks, and in 
delirious dreaming he muttered on of the con- 
flict and incidents of carnage. From his en- 
trance into the hospital he had fancied her his 
mother, and she fostered the only ; „il!usion 
which could gild the fleeting hours of his 
young life. His deeds of daring had won 
honorable mention from the brigade com- 
mander, and Irene had written to his mother, 
m a distant state, detailing the circumstances 
and urging her to hasten to him. But to-night 
the symptoms showed that, ere the dawning of 
another day, the brave spirit would desert its 
boyish prison. 

" Give me some water, please." 

The feeble voice came from an adjoining 
cot, where lay an emaciated, wrinkled old 
man, with gray hair straying over the pillows 
that propped him into an almost upright post- 
ure. She put the glass to his trembling- Hds. 



and, as he drained it, tears trickled' down the 
furrowed face. 

" What distresses you, Mr. Wheeler ? Tell 
me, won't you '?" 

i; I am about to die, and I long so for the 
faee of my wife. If I could have seen her 
again it would not seem so hard. It is easy 
to die on the battle-field, and I expected that 
when I left home ; but to sicken and die in a 
hospital, away from my family and my com- 
rades — oh 1 this is bitter ! bitter ! You have 
been kind to me — as gentle and good as my 
own daughter Mary could have been- — and, if 
you please, I would like to send some messages 
to my people at home. You have written for 
me once — will you do it again — and for the 
last time ?" 

" Certainly ; just as often as you like." 

She gave him a powerful stimulant ; brought 
her portfolio to the side of the cot, and wrote 
at his dictation. 

" Tell my wife I had hoped and prayed to 
be spared to get home once more, but it was 
not the will of God, and I trust she will try to 
bear up like a Christian. I am not afraid to 
die ; I have done my duty to my God and to 
my country ; and though my heart clings to 
my dear ones, way down in Mississippi, I know 
I am going home to rest. Tell her she must 
not grieve for our brave boy, Joe ; he died as 
a Confederate soldier should. I buried him 
where he fell, and we will soon meet where 
battles and separation are unknown. I want 
Mary and her children to live at home, and if 
Edward lives through the war, he will provide 
for all. I want my watch given to my oldest 
grandson, Calvin, as soon as he is of age. I 
send my love to all, and especially to my poor 
sister Emily. I send a, kiss to Mary and her 
children, and to my dear, dear wife, whom I 
hope to meet soon in heaven. May God bless 
and preserve them all, for Jesus Christ's 
sake." 

His voice was weak and unsteady, and his 
breathing rapid, short, labored. 

As she folded the letter and closed the 
portfolio the surgeon entered, and went slow- 
ly from patient to patient— speaking gently to 
some and feeling cautiously at the wrists of 
others who slept. At the two last cots he lin- 
gered long, and his benevolent face saddened 
as he noted the change that a few hours had 
wrought. 

" Dr. Whitmore, I have been giving Mr. 
Wheeler strong eggnog this afternoon." 

" All perfectly right, and let him have 
the ammonia as often as his pulse indicates 
need of it." '-.i 

He sighed heavily, and she followed him in- 
to the passage. 

" After all, Miss Huntingdon, we shall 
lose them both. I had such strong hope of 
young Walton yesterday ; but it is of no use ; 
he will not live till morning. Poor fellow ! 
It is too bad ! too bad !" 



170 



MACARIA. 



" Can we do nothing more ?" 

" Nothing. I have racked my brain, ex- 
hausted my remedies. Wheeler, too, is sink- 
ing-very rapidly, and you must stimulate him 
constantly. These typhoid-pneumonia cases 
are disheartening. By the way, you are 
overtaxing your strength. Let me send 
Martha down here to relieve you to-night. 
For forty-eight hours you have not closed 
your eyes. Take some rest to-night ; your 
presence can do no good now." 

" I prefer to remain ; how are the cases up 
stairs ?" 

" Doing finely, except Moorhouse ; and I 
have strong faith in his constitution. I shall 
sit up with him to-night, to watch the effect of 
the veratrum. God bless you, Miss Irene 1 
you have a melancholy watch before you." 

As she returned to her post Andrew came 
in with a pitcher of ice-water; and after 
creeping across the room several times, ar- 
ranging the covering on the cots, he unrolled 
his blankets on the floor and laid himself 
down to sleep within reach of his mistress' 
hand. 

It was a long, low, rather narrow room, 
lined with rows of cots, which stretched on 
either side to the door, now left open to admit 
free circulation of air. A muffled clock ticked 
on the mantlepiece. Two soldiers, who had 
been permitted to visit their sick comrades, 
slumbered heavily — one with head drooped on 
his chest, the other with chair tilted against 
the window-facing, and dark-bearded face 
thrown back. The quivering flame of the 
candle gleamed fitfully along the line of feat- 
ures — some youthful, almost childish ; others 
bearing the impress of accumulated years : 
some crimsoned with fever, others wan and 
glistening with the dew of exhaustion ; here a 
forehead bent and lowering, as in fancy the 
sleeper lived over the clash and shock of bat- 
tle ; and there a tremulous smile, lighting the 
stern manly mouth as the dreamer heard again 
the welcome bay of watch-dog on the door-step 
at home, and saw once more the loved forms 
of wife and children springing joyfully from 
the cheery fireside to meet his outstretched 
arms. A few tossed restlessly, and frequent 
incoherent mutterings wandered, waif-like, up 
and down the room, sometimes rousing Andrew, 
who once or twice lifted his head to listen and 
then sank back to slumber. 

Before a small pine table, where stood 
■numerous vials, Irene drew her chair, and, 
leaning forward, opened her pocket-bible and 
rested her head on her hand. 

She h.'-iyd the painful breathing of the old 
man, who had fallen into a heavy stupor, and 
as she eat reading her hand stole to his feeble 
pulse, pausing to count its fluttering. Twice 
she rose, administered the stimulants, and re- 
newed the bottles at his feet, the mustard on 
his wasted — rists. Taking the skeleton hand 
in hers she chafed it vigorously ; but sixty- 



three years had worn away the bonds of flesh 
and the soul was near its exodus. Sorrowfully 
she watched the sharpening features, which 
five weeks of nursing had rendered singularly 
familiar ; and as she thought of the aged wife 
to be widowed, and the daughter orphaned, 
memories of her own father's kisses stirred the 
great deeps of her spirit and tears gathered in 
her calm eyes. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! They will never get to 
Richmond ! Johnston is down there — and 
Longstreet is there — and our regiment is 
there ! Johnston is between them and Rich- 
mond — ha ! ha !" 

The wounded boy started up, twirling one 
arm as if in the act of cheering and then fell 
back, groaning with pain which the violent 
effort cost him. 

Irene stooped over him, and, softly unbut- 
toning his shirt-collar, removed the hot bloody 
cloths from his lacerated shoulder and re- 
placed them with fresh folds of linen, cold 
and dripping. She poured out a glass of wa- 
ter and lifted his head, but he frowned, and 
exclaimed : * 

" I won't have it in a tumbler. Mother, 
make Harry bring me a gourdful fresh from 
the spring. I say — send Buddie for some." 

She humored the whim, walked out of the 
room, and paused in the passage. As she did 
so, a dark form glided unperceived into a dim 
corner, and when she re-entered the room 
with the gourd of water the figure passed 
through the hall-door out into the night. 

" Here is your gourd, Willie, fresh and 
cold." 

He swallowed the draught eagerly, and his 
handsome face wore a touching expression 
as he smiled and whispered : 



Hush ! Jessie is 



singing under the old 
magnolia down by the spring. Listen ! 
' Fairy Belle !' We used to sing that in camp; 
but nobody sings like Jessie. So sweet ! so 
sweet 1" 

He set his teeth hard, and shuddered vio- 
lently; and taking his fingers in hers she found 
them clenched. 

" Andrew !" 

" Here I am, Miss Irene." 

" Go»up stairs and ask the doctor to come 
here." 

The surgeon came promptly. 

" I am afraid he is going into convulsions. 
What shall I do for him ?" 

"Yes — just what I have been trying to 
guard against. I fear nothing will do any 
good ; but you might try that mixture which 
acted like a charm on Leavens." 

li Here is the bottle ; how much shall I give V" 

" A spoonful every half-hour while the con- 
vulsions last If he can swallow it, it can't 
possibly do any harm and may ease his suffer - 
tri'T. Poor fellow ! may the vengeance of a 
righteous God seek out his murderer ! I would 
stay here with you, Miss Huntingdon, if I 



MACARIA. 



171 



could render any service. As it is, I am more 
needed up stairs." 

The paroxysms were short, but so severe 
that occasionally she required Andrew's assist- 
ance to hold the sufferer on his cot, and as 
they grew less frequent she saw that his 
strength failed rapidly. Finally he fell into a 
troubled sleep, with one hand clutching her 
arm. ' 

Nearly an hour passed thus, and the nurse 
knelt softly beside her charge and prayed long 
and fervently that the soul of the young mar- 
tyr might find its home with God, and that his 
far-off mourning mother might be strengthened 
to bear this heavy burden of woe. There, in 
the shadow of Death, the woman's spirit soared 
far from sin and sorrow, from the stormy shores 
of Time, and held holy communion with her 
Maker— pleading for aid, for grace, and resig- 
nation through the remaining years of her 
earthly pilgrimage. 

As she knelt with her face upturned a soft 
warm palm was laid upon her forehead, and a 
low, sweet, manly voice pronounced in bene- 
diction : 

" May the Lord bless you, Irene, and abun- 
dantly answer all your prayers." 

She rose quickly and put out her disengaged 
hand. 

" Oh, Harvey ! dear friend ! Thank God, 
I have found you once more." 

He lifted the candle and held it near her 
face, scanning the sculptured features ; then 
stooped and kissed her white cheek. 

" I felt that I could not be mistaken. I 
heard our soldiers blessing a pale woman in 
black, with large eyes bluer than summer skies, 
and hair that shone like rays of a setting-sun ; 
and I knew the silent, gentle,- tireless watcher 
before they told her name. For many years 
I have prayed that you might become an in- 
strument of good to your fellow-creatures, and 
to-night I rejoice to find you, at last, an earnest 
coworker." 

" Where have you been this long time, 
Harvey ? And how is it that you wear a 
Confederate uniform?" 

"I am chaplain in a Texas regiment, and 
have been with the army from the beginning 
of these days of blood. At first it was a pain- 
ful step for me; nty affections, my associations, 
the hallowed reminiscences of my boyhood, 
all linked my heart with New York. My rela- 
tives and friends were there, and I knew not 
how many of them I might meet among the 
war-wolves that hung in hungry herds along 
the borders of the South. Moreover, I loved 
and revered the Union— had been taiffht to 
regard it as the synonyme of national pros- 
-perity. Secession I opposed and regretted at 
the time as unwise ; but to the don-ma of con- 
solidated government I could yield no obedi- 
ence ; and when every sacred constitutional 
barrier had Deen swept away by Lincoln— when 
habeas corpus was abolished, and freedom of 



speech and press denied — when the Washing- 
ton conclave essayed to coerce freemen, to 
'crush Secession' through the agency of sword 
and cannon — then I swore allegiance to the 
' Seven States,' where all of republican liberty 
remained. The fierce and unholy spirit of the 
North appalled and disgusted me. I felt that 
I could have no connection with a people who 
madly plunged into fratricidal war, who goad- 
ed their soldiers to rapine, to the massacre of 
women and children, 'and who left no means 
untried to inflict upon the Cotton-States all 
the unparalleled horrors of a servile insurrec- 
tion. The billows of innocent blood which 
their fury shed surged between us as an ever- 
lasting gulf. As Ruth to Naomi, so I .turned 
fondly to the fair free land of my adoption and 
her devoted sons : ' Thy people shall be my 
people, and thy God my God. Where thou 
diest I will die, and there will I be buried. 
Though I look upon my mother's face no more 
in this world, and for ever resign the consola- 
tion of my father's blessing and my sister's 
smile, I shall never see New York again. My 
step has passed away from the homestead — 
my shadow from the dear old hearthstone. 
Henceforth my home is with the South ; my 
hopes and destiny hers ; her sorrows and 
struggles mine." 

His white scholarly hands were sunburnt 
now; his bronzed complexion, and long, un- 
trimmed hair and beard gave a grim, grizzled 
aspect to the noble face; and the worn and 
faded uniform showed an acquaintance with 
the positive hardships and exposure of an ac- 
tive campaign. 

" I expected nothing less from you, my 
brother. I felt that our holy cause must claim 
your sympathy and support ; and I am proud, 
and inexpressibly happy, to find you in our 
matchless and devoted army. You were dear 
to me before ; but, ah, Harvey ! how much 
dearer now in these dark days of trial, which 
you hav.e voluntarily chosen to share with a 
young, brave, struggling Nation !" 

His eyes dwelt upon her face as she looked 
gladly at him, and over her waving hair his 
hands passed tenderly, as they had done long 
years before, when she was an invalid in his • 
father's house. 

" You have found your work and learned 
contentment in usefulness, since that Spring 
day on which we talked together in the shad- 
ow of the wild-cherry tree. Irene, the peace- 
ful look of your childhood has come back to 
your face." 

" Yes, thanks to your guidance, I have found 
employment for Lead and hands ; but my 
heart is not conquered. I have yet to learn 
patient, perfect resignation." 

" You ought to be grateful and happy for 
the good you are accomplishing every day. I 
bear much of the influence you exert here- 
your name is constantly on the lips of many a 
convalescent ; and in the dead of night, in the 



172 



MACARIA. 



deep hush of camp, I have listened to a fer- 
vent, tearful petition ascending to the Throne 
of Grace from an elderly man, who told me he 
had not prayed since his childhood till you 
knelt beside his cot here and asked God to 
spare his life to his country and his family. 
Does not such blessed fruitage content you ?" 

" You overrate my services. I try to do my 
duty ; but such cases as these two before us 
discourage nte — bow down my heart." 

" I accept the estimate of those of your 
•jountrymen over whom you have watched and 
prayed and toiled. True, it is very melan- 
choly to lose any ; but, in such a mass, we 
must not expect to save all. With my face 
pressed against the window-pane, I have been 
watching you for more than an hour — ever 
since Col. Aubrey came out — and I know all 
the sadness of the circumstances that surround 
you ; how painful it is for you to see those two 
men die." 

" Col. Aubrey? He has not been here." 

•' Yes ; I passed him on the steps ; we rode 
up together from camp. He came on special 
business, and returns at daylight ; but I shall 
remain several days, and hope to be with you 
as much as the nature of your engagements 

will permit Aubrey is from W* ; you 

know him, of course ?" 

" Yes, I know him." 

He saw a shade of regret drift over her 
countenance, and added : 

>l I have many things to say to you, and 
much to learn concerning your past ; but this 
is not the time or place for such interchange 
of thought and feeling. To-morrow we will 
talk ; to-night I could not repress my impa- 
tience to see you, though but for a few mo- 
ments." 

They had conversed in low, smothered tones, 
and now, gently unclasping young Walton's 
lingers, which still grasped her arms, Irene 
went back to the old man's pillow and bent 
over the ghastly face, where the chill of death 
had already settled. 

" Feel how thready and feeble the pulse is ; 
a few more throbs, and the heart will be 
stilled. It is hard, hard to see him die, after 
all my care and watching. Five long weeks 
I have nursed him, and now this is the end. 
Harvey, pray for the departing soul, that, 
through Christ, his salvation may be sure." 

The chaplain bowed his head, but no sound 
broke the sad silence ; and, some moments 
after, Irene laid her ivory fingers on the lids 
and pressed them down over the glazed eyes. 

" He is at rest. ' Whosoever belieyeth in 
Me shall never die,' saith the Lord. He be- 
lieved, and that comforts me. I have talked 
and read much to him during his illness, and 
found that he had no fear of eternity. An- 
other patriot gone — another soul to bear wit- 
ness before God against our oppressors and 
murderers." 

She drew the sheet over the face of the 



dead, and beckoning to the two soldiers who 
now stood near, silent and awe-struck, they 
took up the cot and bore it into a small room 
adjoining. 

" Ah, Irene ! how harrowing such frequent 
spectacles must be. I should think this posi- 
tion would be almost intolerable to one of 
your keen sympathies." 

" How harrowing, only God knows." 

She drew a chair near young Walton, and, 
seating herself, continued : 

'• It would be intolerable, but for the con- 
viction that I sometimes save lives — lives pre- 
cious to friends and country. Hard as that 
case may seem, this is sadder still. Tbat old 
man had but few years left at best ; this boy 
stands on the verge of manhood, with the fair 
green meadows of life stretching dewy and 
untrodden before him, enamelled with hope 
and bounded by shining peaks which his 
brave, ambitious spirit panted to scale. A 
mother's pride and solace, a sister's joy, one of 
a Nation's treasured guardians, stricken down 
in his first battle — bathing his country's rid- 
dled banner in his warm young blood. How 
long — how long will Almighty God withhold 
his vengeance from the wolfish hordes who 
are battening upon the blood of freemen ? 
Harvey, if there be not a long and awful re- 
tribution for that Cain-cursed race of New 
England, there is neither justice nor truth in 
high heaven. I have become strangely at- 
tached to this boy. He mistakes me for his 
mother, follows me eagerly with his eyes, clings 
to my dress, fondles my hands. Around his 
neck is suspended a locket containing her 
miniature ; and yesterday, when I dressed his 
wound, he felt for it — showed me how he 
kissed it before going into battle — believing 
that it would prove a talisman. What harm 
could befall, with his mother's face over his 
heart? Only a private in the ranks! No 
stars and bars to deck his homespun jacket — 
no official pomp and glittering paraphernalia 
to please his youthful fancy — none of the gor- 
geous accessories which gild the ' stern profes- 
sion ' like jewels on a corpse — no badge of dis- 
tinction, save his ghastly death- wound. The 
tenderly nurtured darling of Southern parents, 
cheerful in the midst of unparalleled hardships, 
content with meagre rations which his negroes 
at home would scornfully reject, standing 
dreary watch in snow and sleet and rain,, with 
memories of luxury and fireside joys tempting 
him from his gloomy, solitary post — springing 
to meet the columns of the foe as though the 
Nation's fate depended upon his individual 
valorY and asking but a grave on the soil he 
died defending. Only a private in the ranks ! 
Oh, to this consecrated legion, stretching like 
a wall of flesh along the borders of our land, 
what a measureless debt we owe ! When Inde- 
pendence is obtained, and white-robed Peace 
spreads her stainless hands in blessing over us, 
let history proclaim, and let our people rever- 



MAC ARIA. 



173 



ently remember, that to the uncomplaining for- 
titude and sublime devotion of the private sol- 
diers of the Confederacy, not less than to the ge- 
nius of our generals and the heroism of our sub- 
ordinate officers. we are indebted for Freedom. 

She laid her head close to the boy's mouth 
to listen to his low breathing, and the minister 
saw her tears fall on his pillow and idearn on 
his auburn locks. The delirium seemed to 
have given place to the dreamless sleep of ex- 
haustion, and folding one of her hands around 
his fingers, with the other she softly stroked 
the silky hair from his fair smooth forehead. 

"Irene, will my presence here aid or com- 
fort you ? If so, I will remain till morrftno-." 

" No ; you can do no good. It is midnight 
now, and you must be wearied with your Ion" 
ride. You can not help me here, but to-mor- 
row I shall want you to go with me to the 
cemetery. I wish his family to have the sad 
consolation of knowing that a minister knelt at 
his grave when we laid the young patriot in 
his last resting-place. Good-by, my brother, 
till them. Electra is in the next room ; will 
you go in and speak to her ?" 

" No ; I will see her early in the morning." 

He left her to keep alone her solemn vigil ; 
and through the remaining hours of that star- 
ry June night she stirred not from the narrow 
cot — kept her fingers on the sufferer's fleeting 
pulse — her eyes on his whitening face. About 
three o'clock he moaned, struggled slightly, 
and looked intently at her. She gave him 
some brandy, and found that he Swallowed 
with great difficulty. 

" Willie, are you in pain ?" 

" Is it you, Mother — and are we at home?" 
he asked indistinctly. 

" You are going home, Willie ; you will 
soon be there." 

" I have not said my prayers to-night. 
Mother, hold my musket a minute." 

He put out his arm as if to consign it to her 
care and folded his hands together. 

" Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed 
be thy name ." His voice sank to a whis- 
per, inaudible for some seconds ; then he 
paused, as if confused ; a troubled look cro5sed 
his features, the hazel eyes filled, and the hands 
fell powerless on his chest. Laying her hand 
on his brow, Irene slowly repeated a favorite 
psalm which had seemed to haunt his mind 
two days before — that psalm of promise : " The 
Lord is my Shepherd ; I shall not want." 
Whether he understood it now she never 
knew, but his fingers crept caressingly to 
her face, feebly stroking her cheek while she 
spoke, and when she concluded he seemed try- 
ing to recall something. 

" Jessie knows it all ; I don't ." Then 

came, indistinctly, snatches of the infant praver 
which had been taught him at his truckle-bed 
in the nursery. 

After a short silence he shivered, and mur- 
mured : 



" Corporal of the guard ! post number 
nine ! Mother, it is cold standing guard to- 
night, but the relief will soon be round. 
Standing guard — — — Mother ." 

His eyes wandered around the dim room 
then slowly closed, as he fell into the sleep 
that knew no earthly waking. 

A sick man a few yards off asked for some 
water, and as Irene received the tumbler from 
his hand he said, under his breath : 

" He is worse to-night, is n't he, Ma'ua ?" 

" Yes. How is that pain in your side V 1 
must put a blister on it if it grows more se- 
vere." 

" It does not trouble me as much as it did 
about dark. How is my fever V" 

" Not so high by fifteen beat3. You will be 
able to take quinine at seven o'clock." 

She snuffed the candle and resumed her 
seat, and again silence reigned — silence broken 
only by the deep breathing of the,patients and 
the sudden jingle of the vials on the tabtle as a 
hungry mouse ran among them to nibble at the 
open jar of simple cerate. 

The air grew chilly as a light mist gathered 
along the James, and finally the rumble o! 
wheels on the paved streets told that people 
were beginning to stir in the sleeping city. 

Slowly a half-hour rolled away ; Irene could 
barely feel the faint pulsations at Willie Wal- 
ton's wrist, and as she put her ear to his lips a 
long, last shuddering sigh escaped him — the 
battle of life was ended. Willie's Relief had 
come. The young sentinel passed to his Eter- 
nal Rest. 

" TI19 picket 's off duty for ever." 

Tears dropped on the still face as the nurse 
cut several locks of curling hair that clustered 
around the boyish temples and took from the 
motionless heart the loved picture which bad 
been so often and so tenderly kissed in the 
fitful light of camp-fires. Irene covered the 
noble head, the fair, handsome features, with 
her handkerchief, and, waking Andrew, point- 
ed to the body — left her own ward and entered 
one beyond the passage. 

It was smaller, but similar in arrangement 
to the room where she had passed the night 
A candle was sputtering in its socket, and the 
cold, misty, white dawn stared in at the east- 
ern window upon rows of cots and unquiet, 
muttering sleepers. There, in the centre 
of the room, with her head bowed on the 
table, sat, or rather leaned, Electra, slumber- 
ing soundly, with her scarlet shawl gathered 
about her shoulders — her watch grasped in 
one hand and the other holding a volume open 
at " Hesperid-iEgle." 

Irene lifted the black curls that partially 
veiled the flushed check, and whispered : 

" Electra, wake up ! I am going home." 

" Is it light yet, out of doors ? Ah, yes — 1 
see ! I have been asleep exactly fifteen 
minutes — gave the last dose of medicine at 



174 



MACARIA. 



four o'clock. How are those two men ? I am 
almost afraid to ask." 

"Dead. Willie lived till daylight. Both 
dead." 

"Oh! how sad.! how discouraging ! I went 
to your door twice and looked in, but once 
you were praying, and the last time you had 
your face down on Willie's pillow, and as I 
could do nothing, I came back. Dr. Whit- 
more told me they would die, and it only made 
me suffer to iook at what I could not relieve. 
J am thankful my cases are all doing well ; 
that new prescription has acted magically on 
Mr. Hadly yonder, who has pneumonia. Just 
ieel his skin — soft and pleasant as a child's." 

" I have some directions to leave with 
Martha, about giving quinine before the doc- 
tor comes down, and then I shall go home. 
Are you ready V" 

" Yes. I have a singular feeling about my 
temples and an oppression when I talk— should 
not wonder if I have' caught cold." 

" Electra, did you see Harvey last night ?" 
" No. Where did he come from ?" 
" He is chaplain in a regiment near Rich- 
mond, and said he would see us both this 
morning. Was Russell here last night V" 

" Russell ? No. Why do you ask ? Is he 
in the city V Have you seen him V 

She rose quickly, laid her hand on Irene's, 
and looked searching!)- at her. 

" I have not seen him, but your cousin 
Harvey mentioned that Col. Aubrey came up 
with him, on some very important errand, and 
had but a few hours to remain. I will get my 
shawl and join you in five minutes. Electra, 
you must stay at home and rest for a day or 
two ; you are feverish, and worn-out with con- 
stant watching." 



CHAPTER XXXV 

" It is a mercy that she is delirious ; other- 
wise her unavoidable excitement and anxiety 
would probably prove fatal. She is very ill, 
of course; but, with careful nursing, I think 
you have little to apprehend. Above all things, 
Irene, suffer nobody to bolt into that room 
with the news — keep her as quiet as possible. 
I have perfect confidence in Whitmore's skill; 
he will do all that 1 could, though I would not 
leave her if I did not feel it my duty to hurry 
to the battle-field. Queen, you iook weary; 
but it is not strange, after all that you have 
passed through." 

" Doctor, when will you start V" 

" In twenty minutes." 

" Has any intelligence been received this 
morning V" 

" Nothing but confirmation of last night's 
news. Hill holds Mechaniusville, and the 
enemy have fallen back in the direction of 
Powhite Swamp. A general advance all along 
our lines will be made to-day, and I must be 



off. What is the matter? Surely you are 
not getting frightened." 

" Frightened — Dr. Arnold ? No. I have no 
fears about the safety of Richmond ; defeat is 
not written in Lee's lexicon ; but I shudder in 
view of the precious human hecatombs to be 
immolated on yonder hills before McClellan is 
driven back. No doubt of victor}^ disquiets 
me, but the thought of its awful price." 

She shaded her face and shuddered. 

" Cheer up, child. We may make quicker 
work of it than you seem to imagine. But 
suppose reverses should overtake us, what 
would you do ?" 

" I shall remain here as long as a man or 
woman is left to attend to the wounded ; and 
if — which God forbid! — our army should be 
forced back by overwhelming numbers, I re- 
joice to know that the spirit of ' Edinbur" 
After Flodden ' will be found in Richmond. 
Northern banners shall never flaunt over our 
capital, tainting the atmosphere we breathe ; 
in such dire emergency the people are resolved, 
and we will chant the grand words of Aytoun, 
as we gather round our magnificent national 
pyre : 

' 'T were better that in fiery flame the roofs should thun- 
der down. 
Than that the foot of foreign foe should trample in the 

town ! 

******* 
Though the ramparts rock beneath us, and the walls go 

crashing down, 
Though the roar of conflagration bellow o'er the sinking 

town ; 
There is yet one place of shelter, where the foeman caa not 

come, 
Where the summons never sounded, of the trumpet or the 

drum. 
There .shall we find rest and refage, with our dear departed 

brave ; 
And the ashes of the city be our universal grave !' 

I repeat it, Doctor — not the fate , of Rich- 
mond troubles me — for I have not a shadow of 
doubt that God will give us victory — but the 
thought of the lives to be yielded up in its de- 
fence. As a nation, we shall rejoice; but, ah! 
the desolation hovering over thousands of hap- 
py home-circles, ready to swoop down, darken- 
ing peaceful hearthstones for all time. What 
a burden of wailing woe this day will bear to 
the ears of a pitying God." 

" True, it is an awful reflection ; but we have 
counted the cost and it will not do to repine. 
Extermination, rather than submission to their 
infamous tyranny. Hampden's immortal motto 
has become our own : ' Vestigia nulla retrorsum !' 
But I must go, Queen. I wish you were safely 

back in W , away from these horrors 

that so sicken your soul. Child, take care of 
yourself. Have you anything more to say ? 
Talk fast." 

" I directed Andrew to give Cyrus a small 
box of cordials, which I received yesterday 
from home. You may find use lor it." 

She paused, and her whole face quivered 
as she laid her clasped hands on his arm. 

" Well — what is it ? Dear child, what 
moves you so ?" 



MACARIA. 



175 



" Doctor, promise me that if Colonel Aubrey 
is mortally wounded you will send instantly 
for me. 1 must see him once more." 

Her head went down on her hands, and she 
trembled as white asters do in an early autumn 
gale. Compassionately the old man drew one 
arm around her. 

"After all, then, you do care for him — 
despite your life-long reserve and apparent 
indifference ? I have expected as much, sev- 
eral times, but that imperturbable sphinx-face 
of yours always baffled me. My child, you 
need not droop your head ; he is worthy of 
your love ; he is the only man I know whom I 
would gladly see you marry. Irene, look up— 
tell me — did Leonard know this ? Conscious 
of your affection for Aubrey, did he doom you 
to your lonely lot ?" 

" No. My father died in ignorance of what 
would have pained and mortified him beyond 
measure. Knowing him as well as you do, 
can you suppose that I would ever have allow- 
ed him to suspect the truth ? I realized my 
duty, and fulfilled it ; that is the only consola- 
tion I have left. It never caused him one 
throb of regret, or furnished food for bitter 
reflection ; and the debt of respect I owe to 
his memory shall be as faithfully discharged. 
If Colonel Aubrey lives to enjoy the inde- 
pendence lor which he is lighting — if he 
should be spared to become a useful, valued 
member of society — one of the pure and able 
statesmen whom his country will require when 
these dark days of strife are ended — I can 
be content ; though separated from him and 
watching his brilliant career afar off. But if 
he must give his life for that which he holds 
dearer still, I ask the privilege of seeing him 
again, of being with him in his last moments. 
This consolation the brave spirit of my father 
would not withhold from me, were communion 
allowed between living and dead ; this none 
can have the right to deny me." 

" If such be your stern and melancholy 
resolution, what happiness can the future con- 
tain ? ' 

" My luture holds the hope of promoting 
God's glory, and of contributing, as far as one 
leeble woman can, to the happiness and weal 
of her fellow-creatures. I cheat myself with 
no delusive dreams ; I know that my way is, 
and ever must be, lonely ; but, putting my 
trust in Him who never yet withheld strength 
and guidance in the hour of need, I say to 
myself : 

* 0, pusillanimous Heart, be comforted — 
Ami, like a clieerful traveller, take the road, 
Sinking beside the hedge.' " 

The doctor gathered up her hands in his, 
and said coaxingly : 

"May 1 tell Aubrey all this? it will, at 
least, comfort him in some degree." 

" No ; you must tell him nothing. I know 
what is best for him and for me." 



" Oh, child! what harm could come of it?" 

"Ask me no more ; but give me the promise 
to send a messenger, if he should be severely, 
dangerously wounded." 

" 1 promise that you shall know all as early 
as possible. If you receive no tidings, believe 
that he is uninjured. As yet, his regiment 
has not moved forward, but 1 know not how 
soon it may. Heaven preserve you ! my pre- 
cious child." 

He pressed a kiss on the drooped head 
and left her to resume her watch in the dark- 
ened room where Electra hdd been ill with 
typhoid-fever for nearly three weeks. It 
was thought that she contracted the disease 
in the crowded hospital ; and when delirium 
ensued, Irene temporarily relinquished her 
ward to other nurses and remained at the 
boarding-house, in attendance on her friend. 
It was a season of unexampled anxiety, yet 
all was .singularly quiet in the beleaguered 
city. Throughout the Confederacy hushed 
expectancy reigned. Gallant Vicksburg'3 
batteries barred the Mississippi; Beauregard 
and Price, lion-hearted idols of the West, held 
the Federal army in Corinth at bay; Stone- 
wall Jackson' — synonyme of victory — after 
sweeping like, a whirlwind through the Val- 
ley, and scattering the columns that stealthi- 
ly crept southward, had arrived at Richmond 
at the appointed time. A greater than Ser- 
rurier, at a grander than Castiglione, he gave 
the signal to begin; and as a sheet of flame 
flashed along the sombre forests of Chieka- 
hominy the nation held its breath and 
watched the death-grapple of bannered armies 
around its proud young capital. Thank God! 
we had no cravens there to jeopardize our 
cause; the historic cycle had revolved and 
heroic ages dawned again. Neither ancient, 
mediseval, nor modern lore can furnish a 
parallel for the appalling panorama of blood 
and fire which stretched from Mechanicsville 
to Westover — for the brilliant Seven Days 
conflict, which converted twenty-six miles of 
swamp and forest into a vast necropolis. 

During Friday the wounded came slowly 
in, and at four in the afternoon the roar of 
artillery told that the Battle of Gaines' Mill 
was raging; that the enemy were ngi.ting des- 
perately, behind entrenchments v. :iicii none 
but Confederate soldiers could successfully 
have assaulted. Until eight at night the 
houses trembled at every report of cannon, 
and then McClellan's grand army, crippled 
and bleeding, dragged itself away, under cover 
of darkness, to the south bank of the Chicka- 
hominy. Saturday saw a temporary lull in 
the iron storm; but the wounded continued to 
arrive, and the devoted women of the city rose 
from their knees to minister to the needs of 
these numerous sufferers. Sunday found our 
troops feeling about the swamps for the re- 
treating foe ; and once more, late in the after- 
noon, distant thunder resounded from the 



176 



MACARIA. 



severely-contested field of Savage's Station, 
whence the enemy again retreated. 

On Sabbath morning Irene learned that 
Russell's command had joined in the pursuit ; 
and during that day and night, as the conflict 
drifted farther southward and details became 
necessarily more meagre, her anxiety increas- 
ed. Continually her lips moved in prayer, as 
she glided from Electra's silent room to aid in 
dressing the wounds of those who had been 
disabled for further participation in the strife : 
and, as Monday passed without the receipt of 
tidings from Dr. Arnold, she indulged the hope 
that this day would end the series of butcher- 
ies and that Russell would escape uninjured. 
During Tuesday morning Electra seemed to 
have recovered her consciousness, but in the 
afternoon she relapsed into incoherent mut- 
tering of " Cuyp," " Correggio," " Titian's 
Bella," and " my best, great picture left in 
Florence." 

Irene was sitting at her bedside, rolling 
bandages, when the sudden, far-distant, dull 
boom of cannon, followed by the quick rat- 
tling of the window-panes, gave intimation 
that the long contest was fiercely renewed. 
Prophetic dread seized her ; the hideous To- 
Come scowled at her in the distance ; and, as 
the roll of cloth dropped from her fingers, she 
covered her eyes to shut out the vision of 
horror. The long evening hours crept by in 
mournful procession — trooping phantom-shad- 
ows filled the room — night fell at last, an un- 
heeded flag of truce — and people stood in their 
doors, at their windows, many clustered on the 
pavements, listening in solemn silence to the 
fiend-like roar of the fifty pieces of artillery 
that, like a fiery crescent, crowned Malvern 
Hill. A courier had arrived with intelligence 
that here the enemy's forces were very strong- 
ly posted, were making desperate resistance ; 
and, though no doubt of the result was enter- 
tained, human nature groaned aver the car- 
nage. 

At ten o'clock, having given a potion and 
renewed the folds of wet linen on Electra's 
head, Irene stole back to the window, and, 
turning the shutters, looked down the street. 
Here and there an anxious group huddled on 
the corners, with ears strained to catch every 
sound, and, while she watched, a horseman 
clattered at hard gallop over the paving-stones, 
reined up at the door of the boarding-house, 
swung himself to the sidewalk, and, an instant 
after, the sharp clang of the bell rang startling- 
ly through the still mansion. 

" Oh, my God ! It has come at last !" 

Irene groaned, and leaned heavily against 
the window-facing ; and quick steps came up 
the stairway — Martha entered, and held out 
a slip of paper. 

" Miss Irene, Cyrus has just brought this." 

Her mistress' icy fingers clutched it, and 
she read : 



" Come at once. Aubrey is badly wounded. 
Cyrus will show the way. 

"Hiram Arnold." 

" You are going to faint, Miss Irene ! Drink 
some of this cordial !" 

" No. Tell Andrew to go after the carriage 
as quick as possible, and have it brought here 
immediately ; and ask Uncle Eric to "come to 
my room at once." 

Irene went to her own apartment, which 
adjoined Electra's, put on her bonnet and veil, 
and, though the night was warm, wrapped a 
shawl about her. 

Mr. Mitchell entered? soon after, and started 
at sight of his niece's face. 

" Irene, what does this mean ? Where are 
you going at this hour ?" 

" To the battle-field !— to Malvern Hill. 
Colonel Aubrey is mortally wounded, and 1 
must see him. Will you go with; me ? Oh, 
Uncle Eric ! if you have any mercy in your 
soul, ask me no questions now ! only go with 
me." 

" Of course, my dear child, I will go with 
you, if it is possible to procure a carriage of 
any kind. I will see — " i 

" I have had one engaged for three days. 
Martha, stay with Electra till I come back; 
leave her on vto account. If you notice any 
change, send for Dr. Whitmore. Here is mj- 
watch ; count her pulse carefully, and as long 
as it is over one hundred give her, every two 
hours, a spoonful of the medicine in that 
square vial on the table. I trust to you, Mar- 
tha, to take care of her. If she should be 
rational and ask for me, tell her nothing about 
the battles, and say I have gone to see a sick 
man and will be back soon. Come, Uncle 
Eric." 

They enteeed the close-carriage which she 
had ordered reserved for her, and she called 
Cyrus to the door. 

" Did you see Colonel Aubrey after he was 
wounded T' 

" I only had a glimpse of him, as they 
brought him in. Miss Irene, he was shot in 
the breast." 

" You know the way ; ride outside ; and, 
Cyrus, drive as fast as possible." 

The night was gloomy and spectral -as Sheol, 
and the wind sobbed a miserere through the 
sombre forests that bordered the road, which 
was now crowded with vehicles of all descrip- 
tions hastening to and returning from the field 
of action. Under ordinary circumstances, 
with no obstacles intervening, it was a long 
ride; and to Irene the way seemed intermina- 
ble. During the first hour utter silence reign- 
ed within the carriage, and then, as the driver 
paused to allow an ambulance to pass, Eric 
put his hand on his niece's arm and said ten- 
derly : 

"Irene, why did you deceive me so long? 
Why could you not trust your uncle's love ?" 



MACARIA. 



17T 



She shrank farther back in one corner, and 
answered with a voice which he could scarcely 
recognize as hers. 

"If you love me spare me all questions 
now." 

By the glimmer of the carriage-lamps she 
could see the wagons going to and fro — some 
filled with empty coffins, some with mangled 
sufferers. Now and then weary, spent soldiers 
sat on the roadside, or struggled on toward 
the city which they had saved," with their arms 
in slings, or hands bound up, or bloody band- 
ages across their stern faces. After another 
hour, when the increasing number of men 
showed proximity to the" scene of danger, 
Cyrus turned away from the beaten track, 
and soon the flash of lights and hum of voices 
told that they were near the place of destina- 
tion. The carriage stopped and Cyrus came 
to the door. 

" We are at the lines and I can't drive any* 
nearer. If you will wait, I will go and find" 
Master." 

It was one o'clock; and as they waited, men 
passed and repassed with blazing torches, some 
bearing wounded men, whose groans rose above 
the confusion. The cannonading had long 
since ceased, and Eric called to a group of 
soldiers belonging to the Infirmary corps. 

" What is the last news from the front ? 
Have the enemy fallen back V" 

" Not yet ; but they are getting ready to run 
again, as usual. By daylight they will be out of 
sight, and we shall be all day to-morrow hunt- 
ing them up. Their style is to fight about 
three hours and run the balance of the twenty- 
four. They take to the swamps like all other 
such miserable varments." 

The delay seemed intolerably long, and for 
the first time an audible moan escaped Irene 
just as Cyrus came back accompanied by a 
muffled figure. 

" Irene, my child." 

She leaned out till her face nearly touched 
Dr. Arnold's. 

" Only tell me that he is alive and I can 
bear all else." 

" He is alive, and sleeping just now. Can 
you control yourself if I take you to him T' 

"Yes ; you need not fear that I will disturb 
him. Let me go to him." 

He gave her his arm and led her through the 
drizzling rain for some distance — avoiding, as 
much as possible, the groups of wounded, 
where surgeons were at their sad work. Fi- 
nally, before a small tent, he paused, and 
whispered : 

" Nerve yourself, dear child." 

" Is there no hope V" 

She swept aside her long mourn ing-veil and 
gazed imploringly into his face. 

Tears filled his eyes, and, hastily averting 
his head, he raised the curtain of the tent and 
drew her inside. 

A candle burned dimly in one comer, and 



here, on a pallet of straw, over which a blank- 
et had been thrown, lay the powerful form of 
the dauntless leader, whose deeds of desperate 
daring had so electrified his worshipping com- 
mand but a few hours before. The noble 
head was pillowed on a knapsack ; one hand 
pressed his heart, while the other drooped 
nerveless at his side, and the breast of his 
coat was saturated with the blood which at: 
intervals oozed through the bandages and 
dripped upon the straw. The tent was silent 
as a cemetery, and not a sound passed Irene's 
white fixed lips as she bent down and looked 
upon the loved face, strangely beautiful in its 
pallid repose. The shadowy wings of the bitter 
By-Gone hovered no longer over the features, 
darkening their chiselled perfection; a tranquil 
half-smile parted the lips and unbent the lines 
between the finely-arched black brows. 

Sinking softly on the floor of the tent, Irene 
rested her chin on her folded hands and 
calmly watched the deep sleep. So passed 
three-quarters of an hour; then, as Dr. Arnold 
cautiously put his fingers on the pulse, the. 
sufferer opened his eyes. 

Irene was partially in the shade, but, as she 
leaned forward, a sudden, bewildered smile 
lighted his countenance ; he started up and 
extended one arm. 

" Irene ! My darling! Do I dream, or are 
you indeed with me V" 

"1 have come to nurse you, Russell; but if 
you do not calm yourself the doctor will send 
me away." 

She took the outstretched hand in both 
hers, and pressed her lips repeatedly upon it. 

" Come close to me. I am helpless now, 
and can not go to you." 

She seated herself on the edge of the straw, 
laid her shawl in her lap, and lifting his head, 
rested it on the soft woollen folds. Dr. Arnold 
removed the warm cloth soaked with blood, 
placed a cold, dripping towel on the gaping 
wound, and, after tightening the bandages to 
check the hemorrhage* passed out of the tent, 
leaving the two alone. 

" Oh, Irene ! this is a joy I never hoped for. 
I went at night to the hospital in Richmond, 
just to get a glimpse of you — to feast my eye* 
with another sight of your dear, dear face ! I 
watched you ministering like an angel to sick 
and wounded soldiery and I envied them the 
touch of your hand — the sound of your voice. 
I little expected to die in your arms. This 
reconciles me to my fate ; this compensates for 
all !" 

Her fingers tenderly smoothed the black 
locks that clung to his temples, and, bending 
down, she kissed his forehead. His uninjured 
arm stole up around her neck, drew her face 
to his, and his lips pressed hers again and 
again. 

" Dear Russell, you must be quiet, or you 
will exhaust yourself. Try to sleep — it will 
refresh, strengthen you." 



178 



MACARIA. 



" Nothing will strengthen me. 1 have but 
a short time to live ; shall I sleep away the op- 
portunity of my last earthly communion with 
you, my life-long idol ? Oh, Irene 1 my 
beautiful treasure ! this proof of your love 
sweetens death itself. There have been hours 
(even since we parted a year ago) when I 
reproached you for the sorrow and pain you 
sternly meted out to me and to yourself. When 
I said bitterly, if she loved me as she should, 
she would level all barriers — she would lay 
her hands in mine — glorify my name by taking 
it as my wife, and thus defy and cancel the 
past. I was selfish in my love ; I wanted you 
in my home ; I longed for the soft touch of 
your fingers, for your proud, dazzling smile of 
welcome when the day's work was ended ; for 
the privilege of drawing you to my heart and 
listening to your whispered words of encour- 
agement and fond congratulation on my suc- 
cesses. I knew that this could never be ; that 
3'our veneration for your father's memory 
would separate us in future as in the past ; 
that my pleadings would not shake your un- 
fortunate and erroneous resolution ; and it was 
hard to give up the dearest hope that ever 
brightened a lonely man's life. Now I know, 
I feel, that your love is strong, deathless as 
my own, though long locked deep in your 
heart. I know it by the anguish in your face, 
by the quiver of your mouth, by your presence 
in this place of horrors. God comfort and 
bless you, my own darling ! — my brave, patient, 
faithful Irene !" 

He smiled triumphantly and drew her hand 
caressingly across his cheek. 

" Russell, it is useless now to dwell upon 
our sorrowful past ; what suffering our separa- 
tion has cost me none but my God can ever 
know. To His hands I commit my destiny, 
and ' He doeth all things well.' In a little 
while you will leave me, and then — oh ! then 
I shall be utterly desolate indeed ! But I can 
bear loneliness — I can walk my dreary earthly 
path uncomplainingly ; I can give you up for 
the sake of my country, if I have the blessed 
assurance that you have only hastened home 
before me, waiting for me there — that, saved 
through Christ, we shall soon meet in Heaven 
and spend Eternity together. Oh, Russell ! 
can you give me this consolation, without 
which my future will be dark indeed ? Have 
you kept your promise, to live so that you 
could at last meet the eyes of your God in 
peace ?" 

" I have. I have struggled against the 
faults of my character ; I have earnestly en- 
deavored to crush the vindictive feelings of 
my heart; and I have conscientiously tried to 
do my duty to my fellow-creatures, to my 
command, and my country. I have read the 
bible you gave me ; and, dearest, in praying 
for you I have learned to pray for myself. 
Through Jesus, I have a sure hope of happi- 
ness, beyond the grave. There, though sepa- 



rated in life, you and I shall be united by death . 
Oh, Irene ! but for your earnest piety this 
precious anticipation might never have been 
mine. But for you, I would have forgotten 
my mother's precepts and my mother's prayers. 
Through your influence I shall soon join her 
where the fierce waves of earthly trial can 
lash my proud soul no more." 

" Thank God ! Oh, Russell ! this takes 
away the intolerable bitterness of parting ; this 
will support me in coming years. I can brave 
all things in future." 

She saw that a paroxysm of pain had seized 
him. His brow wrinkled, and he bit his lips 
hard, to suppress a groan. Just at this mo- 
ment Dr. Arnold re-entered, and immediately 
gave him another potion of morphine. 

" Aubrey, you must be quiet, if you would 
not shorten your life." 

He silently endured his suffering for some 
moments, and, raising his eyes again to Irene's, 
said in a tone of exhaustion : 

" It is selfish to make you witness my 
torture ; but I could not bear to have you 
leave me. There is something I want to say 
while I have strength left. How is Electra V" 

" Partially delirious still, but the doctor 
thinks she will recover. What shall I tell her 
for you ?" 

" That I loved and remembered her in my 
dying hour. Kiss her for me, and tell her I 
fell where the dead lay thickest, in a desper- 
ate charge on the enemy's batteries — that 
none can claim a nobler, prouder death than 
mine- — -that the name of Aubrey is once more 
glorified — rebaptized with my blood upon the 
battle-field. Irene, she is alone in the world ; 
watch over and love her for my sake. Doctor, 
give me some water." 

As the hemorrhage increased despite their 
efforts to staunch it, he became rapidly weak- 
er, and soon after, with one hand locked in 
Irene's, he fell asleep. 

She sat motionless, supporting his head, 
uttering no sound, keeping her eyes fixed on 
his upturned countenance. Dr. Arnold went 
noiselessly in and out on various errands of 
mercy ; occasionally anxious, weather-beaten 
soldiers softly lifted the curtain of the tent, 
gazed sadly, fondly, on the prostrate figure of 
the beloved commander, and turned away 
silently, with tears trickling down their bronz- 
ed faces. Slowly the night waned, and the 
shrill tones of reveille told that another day 
had l-isen before the murky sky brightened. 
Hundreds, who had sprung up at that call 
twenty-four hours ago, now lay stiffening in 
their gore, sleeping their last sleep, where 
neither the. sound of fife and drum, nor the 
battle-cry of comrades, would ever rouse them 
from their final rest before Malvern Hill — 
over which winds wailed a requiem, and trail- 
ins, dripping clouds settled like a pall. 

"The bustle and stir of camp increased as 
preparations were made to follow the i'oe, who 



MACARIA. 



179 



had again taken up the line of retreat; but 
withm the tent unbroken silence reigned. It 
was apparent that Eussell was sinking fast, 
and at eight o'clock he awoke, looked uneasily 
around him, and said feebly : *' 

" What is going on in front ?" 

"McClellan has evacuated Malvern Hill 
and is in full retreat toward his gunboats," 
answered the doctor. 

" Then there will be no more fighting. My 
shattered regiment will rest for a season. 
Poor fellows ! they did their duty nobly yes- 
terday. Tell my men for me that I am inex- 
pressibly proud of their bravery and their 
daring, and that, though my heart clings fond- 
ly to my gallant regiment, I glory in the death 
1 die— knowing that my soldiers will avenge 
me. Give my love to one and all, and tell 
them, when next they go into battle, to re- 
member him who led their last charge. I 
should like to have seen the end of the strug- 
gle—but Thy will, oh, my God ! not mine." ° 

He lifted his eyes toward heaven, and for 
some moments his lips moved inaudibly in 
prayer. Gradually a tranquil expression set- 
tled on his features, and as his eyes closed 
again he murmured faintly : 

" Irene — darling — raise me a little." 

They lifted him and rested his head against 
her shoulder. 

" Irene !" 

" I am here, Russell ; my arms are around 
you." 

She laid her cheek on his and listened to 
catch the words ; but none came. The lips 
parted once, and a soft fluttering breath swept 
across them. Dr. Arnold put his hand over 
the heart — no pulsation greeted him ; and, 
turning away, the old man covered his face 
with his handkerchief. 

" Russell, speak to me once more." 

There was no sound— no motion. She knew 
then that the soldier's spirit had soared to the 
shores of Everlasting Peace, and that not until 
she Joined him there would the loved tones 
again make music in her heart. She tightened 
her arms around the still form and nestled her 
cheek closer to his, now growing cold. No 
burst of grief escaped her, to tell of agony and 
despair : 

"But like a statue solid set. 
And moulded iu colossal calm," 

she sat, mute and resigned, at the foot of the 
Red Dripping Altar of Patriotism, where lay, 
in hallowed Sacrifice, her noble, darling Dead. 

In the morning-light her face looked rigid, 
pallid as his, and the tearless but indescribably 
mournful eyes were riveted on his placid, 
handsome features. Erie and Harvey Youno- 
stood in one corner of the tent, wiping away 
tears which would not be ' restrained : and 
finally Dr Arnold stooped, and said falter- 
ingly: 

" My dear child, come with me now." 



She did not seem to hear him, and he re- 
peated his words, trying, at the same time, to 
unwind her arms. 

She yielded, and with her own hands smooth- 
ed out and cut a lock of hair that waved over 
his gleaming forehead. 

Leaning over him, she kissed the icy lips ; 
then rose, and clasping her hands, murmured : 

" Farewell, my own brave Russell !" 

The minister approached and stood before 
her. She lifted her wan dry face, and, as she 
put out her arms to him, a wintry smile flitted 
over the mouth that had seemed frozen. 

" Harvey ! Harvey ! he was my all ! He 
was the idol of my childhood ! and girlhood ! 
and womanhood 1 Oh ! pray for me — that 1 
may be patient and strong in my great desola- 
tion." 

***** 

Eleetra's speedy convalescence repaid the 
care bestowed upon her ; and one afternoon, 
ten days after quiet had again settled around 
the Confederate capital, she insisted on being 
allowed to sit up later than usual, protesting 
that she would no longer be regarded as an in- 
valid. 

" Irene, stand in the light where I can see 
you fully. How worn and weary you look ! 
I suspect I am regaining my health at the ex- 
pense of yours." 

" No ; I am as well in body as I could de- 
sire ; but, no doubt, my anxiety has left its 
traces on my countenance." 

She leaned over Eleetra's chair and stroked 
back the artist's shining hair. 

" I wish you would let me see the papers. 
My eyes are strong enough now, and I want 
to know exactly what has taken place every- 
whei - e during my sickness. It seems to me 
impossible that General Lee's army can face 
McClellan's much longer without bringing on 
a battle, and I am so anxious about Russell. 
If he should be hurt, of course I must go 
to him. It is very strange that he has not 
written. Are you sure no letters came for 
me V" 

" There are no letters, I am sure ; but T 
have a message for you. I have seen him 
once since you were taken sick." 

" Ah ! what is it V He heard that I was ill, 
and came to see me, I suppose. When was he 
hereV" 

Irene bent do-vn and kissed her companion 
tremulously, saying slowly : 

" He desired me to kiss you for him. Elec- 
tra, I have not told you before, because I 
feared the effect upon you in your weak state ; 
but there have been desperate battles around 
Richmond during your illness, and the Feder- 
als have been defeated — driven back to James 
river." 

" Was Russell wounded V Yes — I under- 
stand it all now! Where is>he'? Oh! tell 
me ! that I may go to him." 

She sprang up, but a death-like pallor over- 



180 



MACARJA. 



spread her face and she tottered to the open 
window. 

Irene followed the thin figure, and, putting 
her arms about her, made her lean against 
her. 

" He was wounded on the last day, and I 
•went to see him ; you were then delirious." 

" Let me go at once ! I will not disturb 
him ; I will control myself! Only let me see 
him* to-day !" * 

" Electra, you can not see him. He has 
gone to his God ; but in his dying hour he 
spoke of you fondly, sent love, and — " 

The form reeled, drooped, shivered, and fell 
back insensible in Irene's arms. 

So heavy was the swoon that it seemed as 
if her spirit had fled to join her cousin's in 
endless union ; but at length consciousness re- 
turned, and with it came the woful realization 
of her loss. A long, low wail rose and fell 
upon the air like the cry from lips of feeble, 
suffering, helpless children, and her head sank 
upon the shoulder of the sad-faced nurse, 
whose grief could find no expression in sobs, or 
moans, or tears. 

" Dead ! dead ! and I shall see his dear 
face no more ! Oh ! why did you not let me 
die, too V What is my wretched life worth 
now V One grave might have held us both ! 
My noble, peerless Russell ! the light of my 
solitary life! Oh, God! be merciful! take me 
with my idol ! Take me now 1" 

Very tenderly and caressingly Irene en- 
deavored to soothe her — detailed the circum- 
stances of her cousin's death, and pointed her 
despairing soul to a final reunion. 

But no rift appeared in the artist's black 
sky of sorrow ; she had not yet learned that, in 
drawing near the hand that holds the rod, the 
blow is lightened; and she bitterly demanded 
of her Maker to be released from the burden 
of life. 

" Electra, hush your passionate cries ! crush 
back your rebellious words. Your heart 
knows no depth of agony which mine has 
not sounded ; and yet, in this season of 
anguish, when Russell is taken from us both, 
I look upon his grave and feel that, 

w ' - -I am stroncr. 

Knowing ye are Dot lost for aye among 
The hills, with last year's thrush. God keeps a niche 
111 Heaven, to hold our idols: and albeit ,,r- 
He brake them to our faces, and denied 
That our close kisses should impair their white, 
I know we shall behold them raised, complete, 
The dust swept from their beauty— glorified 
New Memnons, singing in the great God-light 1' " 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

The sunlight of a warm spring day flashed 
through the open window, and made golden 
arabesque tracery on the walls and portraits 
of the parlor at Huntingdon Hill. The cost- 
ly crimson damask curtains had long since 
been cut into shirts for the soldiers and trans- 



ported to the Army of Tennessee, and air and 
sunshine entered unimpeded. Electra sat be- 
fore her canvas in this room, absorbed in the 
design which »iOw engaged every thought. 
The witchery of her profession had woven its 
spell about her, banishing for a time the spec- 
tral Past. 

The extension of the Conscription statute 
had, several months before, deprived Irene ol 
a valued and trusty overseer ; and to satisfy 
herself concerning the character of his succes- 
sor, and the condition of affairs at horn", she 
and her uncle had returned to W , bring- 
ing Electra with them. 

Irene stood on the colonnade, leaning ovei 
the back of Eric Mitchell's arm-chair, drop- 
ping crumbs for the pigeons that cooed ant 
scrambled at her feet, and looking dreamily 
down the avenue at the band of orphans whc 
had just paid her a visit, and were returning 
to the asylum, convoyed by the matron. 

" What contented-looking, merry little chil- 
dren those are," said her uncle, watching the 
small figures diminish as they threaded the 
avenue. 

" Yes ; they are as happy as orphans possi- 
bly can be. I love to look into their smiling 
rosy faces and feel their dimpled hands stea! 
timidly into mine. But. Uncle, Dr. Arnold 
has finished his nap and is waiting for you." 

She gave him her arm to the library-door 
saw him seated comibrtably at the table 
where the doctor was examining a mass o; 
papers, then joined Electra in the parlor. 

" What progress are you making, Electra?' 

" Very little. I can't work well to-day. 
Rnskin says that no artist has fully grasped ot 
matured his subject who can not quit one por- 
tion of it at any moment and proceed to the 
completion of some other part. Doubtless he 
is correct ; but I am so haunted by those blue 
eyes that I can paint nothing else this after- 
noon. Do you recognize theni ? Yours, Irene. 
Forgive me ; but I can find no others, in im- 
agination or in life, that so fully express seren- 
ity. My work has taken marvellous hold 
upon me ; sleeping or waking, it follows, pos- 
sesses me, I shall not hurry myself; I intend 
that the execution shall be equal to my ideal — 
and that ideal entirely worthy of the theme. I 
want to lay my ' Modern Macaria,' as the 
first offering of Southern Art, upon my coun- 
try's altar, as a nucleus around which nobler 
and grander pictures, from the hands of my 
countrymen and women, shall cluster. In 
sunny climes like ours, my glorious Art had 
its birth, its novitiate, its apotheosis ; and who 
dare say that future ages shall not find Art- 
students from all nations pressing, like pilgrims, 
to the Perfected School of the Southern 
States ? Ancient republics offered premiums, 
aAd saw the acme of the arts ; why not our 
Confederate republic, when days of national 
prosperity dawn upon us ? if the legisla- 
ture of each state wwuld annually purchase. 



MAC ARIA. 



1M 



for the embellishment of the galleries and 
grounds of its capital, the best picture or 
statue produced within its borders during.the 
twelvemonths, a generous emulation would 
be encouraged. Our marble-hearted land 
will furnish materials, which Southern genius 
can mould into monuments of imperishable 
beauty. This war furnishes instances of he- 
roism before which all other records pale, and 
our Poets, Sculptors, and Painters have only to 
look around them for subjects which Greek 
or Italian Art would glorify and immortalize. 

'" I do distrust the poet who discerns 
No character or glory in his times. 
And trundles back his soul five hundred years.' 

" Our resources are inexhaustible, our capa- 
bilities as a people unlimited, and we require 
only the fostering influences which Cosmo De 
Medici and Niccolo Niecoli exerted in Flor- 
ence, to call into action t energies and latent 
talents of which we are, as yet, scarcely con- 
scious. Such patrons of Art and Literature I 
hope to find in the planters of the Confedera- 
cy. They have wealth, leisure, and every re- 
quisite adjunct, and upon them, as a class, must 
devolve this labor of love — the accomplishment 
of an American Renaissance — the develop- 
ment of the slumbering -genius of our land. 
Burke has remarked : ' Nobility is a graceful 
ornament to the, civil order; it is the Corin- 
thian capital of polished society.' Certainly 
Southern planters possess all the elements of 
this highest order of social architecture, and 
upon their correct appreciation of the grave 
responsibility attending their wealth and in- 
fluence depends, in great degree, our emanci- 
pation from the gross utilitarianism which has 
hitherto characterized us, and our progress in 
refinement and aesthetic culture. As we are 
distinct, socially and politically, from other na- 
tions, so let us" be intellectually and artistically. 
The world has turned its back upon us in our 
grapple with tyranny : and, in the hour of our 
triumph, let us not forget that, as we won In- 
dependence without aid or sympathy, so we 
can maintain it in all departments." 

" Electra, in order to effect this ' consum- 
mation devoutly to be wished,' it is necessary 
that the primary branches of Art should be 
popularized and thrown open to the masses. 
Mill contends, in his Political Economy, that 
the remuneration of the peculiar employments 
of women is always far below that of employ- 
ments of equal skill carried on by men, and 
he finds an explanation in the fact that they 
are overstocked. Hence, in improving the 
condition of women, it is advisable to give 
them the readiest access to independent in- 
dustrial pursuits and extend the circle of 
their appropriate occupations. Our Revolu- 
tion has beggard thousands and deprived 
many of their natural providers ; numbers 
of women in the Confederacy will be thrown 
entirely upon their own resources for main- 



tenance. All can not be mantua-makers, 
milliners, or school-teachers ; and, in order to 
open for them new avenues of support, I have 

determined to establish in W a School 

of Design for women — similar in plan, though 
more extensive, than that founded some years 
ago by Mrs. Peter, of Philadelphia. The up- 
per portion of the building will be arranged 
for drawing-classes, wood-engraving, and the 
various branches of Design ; and the lower, 
corresponding in size and general appearance, 
I intend for a circulating-library for our 
county. Over that School of Design I want 
you to preside ; your talents, your educa- 
tion, your devotion to your Art fit you pecu- 
liarly for the position. The salary shall be 
such as to compensate you for your services ; 
and, when calmer days dawn upon us, we 
may be able to secure some very valuable 
lecturers among our gentlemen-artists. I 
have a large lot on the corner of Pine street 
and Huntingdon avenue, opposite the court- 
house, which will be a fine location for it, and 
I wish to appropriate it to this purpose. 
While you are adorning the interior of the 
building, the walls of which are to contain 
frescos of some of the most impressive scenes 
of our Revolution, I will embellish the grounds 
in front, and make them my special charge. 
I undersand the cultivation of flowers, though 
the gift of painting them is denied me. Yes- 
terday I sold my diamonds for a much larger 
amount than I supposed they would command, 
and this sum,, added to other funds now at my 
disposal, will enable me to accomplish the 
scheme. Dr. Arnold and Uncle Eric cor- 
dially approve my plan, will aid me very 
liberally, and as soon as tranquillitv is restored 
I shall succeed in erecting the building with- 
out applying to any one else for assistance. 
When your picture is finished, I wish you 
to make me a copy to be hung up in our 
School of Design, that the students may be 
constantly reminded of the debt of gratitude 
we owe our armies. How life-like your figures 
grow ; I can almost see the quiver of that wife's 
white lips and hear the dismal howling of the 
dead man's dog." 

The canvas, which s-he leaned forward to 
inspect more closely, contained an allegorical 
design representing, in the foreground, two 
female figures. One stern, yet noble-featured, 
crowned with stars — triumph and exultation 
flashing in the luminous eyes ; Independence, 
crimson-mantled, grasping the Confederate 
Banner of the Cross, whose victorious folds 
streamed above a captured battery, where 
a Federal flag trailed in the dust. At her 
side stood white-robed, angelic Peace, with 
one hand over the touohhole of the cannon 
against which she leaned, and the other ex- 
tended in benediction. Vividly the faces 
contrasted — «ne all athrob with national pride, 
beaming with brilliant destiny, the other 
wonderfully serene and holy. In the distance, 



1S2 



MACAR1A. 



gleaming in the evening light which streamed 
from the west, tents dotted a hill-side; and 
intermediate between Peace and the glittering 
tents stretched a torn, stained battle-field, 
over which the roar and rush of conflict had 
just swept, leaving mangled heaps of dead in 
attestation of its fury. Among the trampled, 
bloody sheaves of wheat, an aged, infirm 
Niobe-mother bent in tearless anguish, press- 
ing her hand upon the pulseless heart of a 
handsome boy of sixteen summers, whose yel- 
low locks' were dabbled from his death-wound. 
A few steps farther, a lovely young Wife, 
kneeling beside the stalwart, rigid form of her 
Husband, whose icy fingers still clutched his 
broken sword, lifted her woful, ashen face to 
heaven in mute despair, while the fair-browed 
infant on the ground beside her dipped its 
little snowy, dimpled feet in a pool of its 
father's blood, and, with tears of terror still 
glistening on its cheeks, laughed at the scarlet 
coloring. Just beyond these mourners, a girl 
of surpassing beauty, whose black hair floated 
like a sable banner on the breeze, clasped her 
rounded arms about her dead patriot-Lover, 
and kept her sad vigil in voiceless agony— 
with all of Sparta's stern stoicism in her blanch- 
ed, stony countenance. And, last of the 
stricken groups, a faithful dog, crouching close 
to the corpse of an old silver-haired man, 
threw back his head and howled in desolation. 
Neither blue shadows, nor wreathing, rosy 
mists, nor golden haze of sunset glory, softened 
the sacrificial scene, which showed its grim 
features strangely solemn in the weird, fading, 
crepuscular light. 

" How many months do you suppose it will 
require to complete it ?" asked Irene, whose 
interest in the picture was scarcely inferior 
to that of its creator. 

" If I work steadily upon it, I can soon finish 
it ; but if I go with you to a Tennessee hos- 
pital, I must, of course, leave it here until the 
war ends. After all, Irene, the joy of success 
does not equal that which attends the patient 
working. Perhaps it is because ' anticipation 
is the purest part of pleasure.' I love my 
work ; no man or woman ever loved it better ; 
and yet there is a painful feeling of isolation, 
of loneliness, which steals over me sometimes 
and chills all my enthusiasm. It is so mourn- 
ful to know that, when the labor is ended and 
a new chaplet encircles my brow, I shall have 
no one but you to whom I can turn for sympa- 
thy in my triumph. If I feel this so keenly 
now, how shall I bear it when the glow of life 
fades into sober twilight shadows and age 
creeps upon me ? 

" • my God ! my God ! 
supreme Artist, who. as sole return 
For all the cosmic wonder of Thy work, 
Demandest of us just a word— a name. 
" My Father" — thou hast knowledge — only thou, 
How dreary 't is for women to sit still 
On winter nights by solitary lires, 
And hear the nations praising them tar off, 
Too far!'" 



She threw down her brush and palette, and, 
turning toward her companion, leaned her 
purplish head against her. 

" Electra, it is very true that single women 
have trials for which a thoughtless, happy 
world has little sympathy. But lonely lives 
are not necessarily joyless ; they should be, of 
all others, most useful. The head of a house- 
hold, a wife and mother, is occupied with 
family cares and affections — can find little 
time for considering the comfort or contribut- 
ing to the enjoyment of any beyond the home- 
circle. Doubtless she is happier, far happier 
than the unmarried woman ; but to the last 
belongs the privilege of carrying light and 
blessings to many firesides— of being the friend 
and helper, of hundreds ; and because she be- 
longs exclusively to no one, her heart expands 
to all her suffering fellow-creatures. In my 
childhood I always thought of Old-Maids with 
a sensation of contempt and repulsion ; now I 
regard those among them who preserve their 
natures from cynicism and querulousness, and 
prove themselves social evangels of mercy, as 
an uncrowned host of martyrs. Electra, re- 
member other words of the same vigorous, gift- 
ed woman whom you so often quote : 

■"And since we needs must hunger — better, for man's 
love, 
Than God's truth ! better, for companion sweet, 
Than great convictions! let us bear our weights, 
Preferring dreary hearths to desert souls !' 

" Remember that the woman who dares to 
live alone, and be sneered at, is braver and 
nobler and better than she who escapes both 
in a loveless marriage. It is true that you and 
I are very lonely, and yet our future holds 
much that is bright. You have the profession 
you love so well and our new School of Design 
to engage your thoughts ; and I a thousand 
claims on my time and attention. I have 
Uncle Eric to take care of and to love ; and Dr. 
Arnold, who is growing quite infirm, has 
promised me that, as soon as he can be spared 
from the hospitals, he will make his home with 
us. When this storm of war has spent itself, 
your uncle's family will return from Europe 
and reside here with you. Harvey, too, will 

come to W to live — -will probably take 

charge of Mr. Campbell's church — and we shall 
have the pleasure and benefit of his constant 
counsel. If I could see you a member of that 
church I should be better satisfied — and you 
would be happier." 

" I would join to-morrow, if thereby I could 
acquire your sublime faith and strength and 
resignation. Oh, Irene ! my friend and com- 
forter ! I want to live differently in future. 
Once I was wedded to life and my Art — pre- 
eminence in my profession, fame, was all that 
I cared to attain ; now I desire to spend my 
remaining years so that I may meet Russell 
beyond the grave. His death broke the ties 
that bound me to this world; I live now in 
hope of reunion in God's eternal kingdom. I 



MACARIA. 



183 



have been selfish and careless and complain- 
ing ; but, oh ! I want to do my -whole duty 
henceforth. Irene, my calm, sweet, patient 
guide, teach me to be more like you." 

'' Electra, take Christ for your model, in- 
stead of an erring human being like yourself, 
constantly falling short of her own duty. 
With Harvey to direct us, we ought to accom- 
plish a world of good, here in sight of Russell's 
grave. Cheer up ! God's great vineyard 
stretches before us, calling for laborers. Hand 
in hand we will go in and work till evening 
shades close over us ; then lift up, in token of 
our faithfulness, rich ripe clusters of purple 
fruitage. You and I have much to do during 
these days of gloom and national trial — forupon 
the purity, the devotion, and the patriotism of 
the women of our land, not less than upon the 
heroism of our armies, depends our national 
salvation. To jealously guard our homes and 
social circles from the inroads of corruption, 
to keep the fires of patriotism burning upon 
the altars of the South, to sustain and en- 
courage those who are wrestling along the 
border for our birthright of freedom, is the 
consecrated work to which we are called ; and 
beyond this bloody baptism open vistas of life- 
long usefulness, when the reign of wrong and 
tyranny is ended, when the roar of battle, the 
blast of bugle, and beat of drum is hushed 
among our hills, and Peace 1 blessed Peace ! 
ao-ain makes her abode in our smiling, flowery 
valleys. Hasten the hour, oh ! my God ! 
when her white wings shall hover over us 
once more !" 

The eyes of the artist went back to the 
stainless robes and seraphic face of her pictured 
Peace in the loved "Modern Macaria," and, as 



she resumed her work, her brow cleared, the 
countenance kindled as in days of yore, bitter 
memories hushed their moans and fell asleep 
at the wizard-touch of her profession, and the 
stormy, stricken soul found balm and rest in 
Heaven-appointed Labor. 

Standing at the back of Electra's chair, 
with one hand resting on her shoulder, Irene 
raised her holy violet eyes and looked through 
the window toward the cemetery, where glit- 
tered a tall marble shaft which the citizens of 
W had erected over the last quiet rest- 
ing-place of Russell Aubrey. Sands of Time 
were drifting stealthily around the crumbling 
idols of the morning of life, levelling and ten- 
derly shrouding the Past, but sorrow left its 
softening shadow on the orphan's countenance 
and laid its chastening finger about the lips 
which meekly murmured, " Thy will be 
done." The rays of the setting sun srilded her 
mourning-dress, gleamed in the white roses 
that breathed their perfume in her rippling 
hair, and lingered like a benediction on the 
placid, pure face of the lonely woman who had 
survived every earthly hope; and who, calmly 
fronting her Altars of Sacrifice, here dedicated 
herself anew to the hallowed work of pro- 
moting the happiness and gladdening the 
paths of all who journeyed with her down 
the chequered aisles of Time. 

"Rise, woman, rise ! 
To thy peculiar and best altitudes 
Of doing good and of enduring ill, 
Of comforting for ill, and teaching good, 
And reconciling all tlhit ill and good 
Unto the patience of a constant hope. 

Jlenceforward, rise, aspire, 
To all the calms and magnanimities, 
The lofty uses and the noble ends, 
The sanctified devotion and full work. 
To which thou art elect for evermore!" 



IN PRESS. 



^¥E8T Ac JOHNSTON, 

PUBLISHERS AND BOOKSELLERS, 

145 Main Street, Richmond, 

Have in Tress, and will be ready at an early day, a 

Jolm Marclimont's Legacy, 

■By MISS M. E. BBADDON, 

Authoress of "Aurora Floyd," "Lady Audley's Secret,' " Eleanor's Victory," etc., etc. 
* a * This is the latest, and is pronounced by critics the best, of Miss Bkaddon'.s 



numerous iworks. 



Up and Down in the World, 

By the authoress of "Pride and Piety," etc. 



NO¥ EEADY 



SUMMARY OF THE COURSE OP PERMANENT FORTIFICATION, A.\D OF 
THE ATTACK AND DEFENCE £>E PERMANENT "WORKS. For the use of 
the Cadets of the IT. S. Military Aca^ my. By D. H. Mahan, Professor of Military 
Engineering, etc.! etc. One vol., Svo., half-morocco, beautifully printed; profusely 
illustrated, and accompanied by a volume of twenty-three finely executed Plates, on 
folio paper, 17x24. Price,. $20. 

A TREATISE ON FIELD FORTIFICATION; containing Instructions on the 
Methods of Laying Ouf? Constructing, Defending, arid Attacking Intrenchnients, with 
General Outlines; also of the Arrangement, the Attack, and Defence of Permanent 
Fortifications. By D. H. Mahan, Professor of Military and" Civil Engineering in 
the 17. S. Military A cadem 3'. Fourth. editio*i, revised and enlarged. One vol., lfimo., 
boards. Elegantlv illustrated. . Price, $4. 

MANUAL OF INSTRUCTION FOR THE VOLUNTEERS AND MILITIA OF 
THE CONFEDERATE STATES. By William Gilham, Colonel of Volunteers, 
Instructor of Tactics, and Commandant of Cadets, Virginia Military Institute. One 
vol., 12mo., pp. 55't Profusely and beautifullv illustrated with nearly 100 plates. 
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REGULATIONS FOR THE ARMY OF THE CONFEDERATE - STATES,. 1863, 
with a full index. One vol., 12mo., pp. 432, cloth. Price, $5. 
Hfi^" As the following will show, this is the official and authorized edition of the Arm/g> 

Regulations : -'' . . 

•5 •- " '"' : DEPARTMENT, 

'•'.;■ RhzhmbiM, «> .mary 28, 1863. 
•■-These Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States are published by dileCtion of the Presi- 
dent, for the government of all concerned. They will, accordingly, be strictly obeyed, and nothing 
contrary to them will be enjoined or permitted in any portion of the forces of the Confederate States^. "<i 
i fey the Officers thereof. 

" James A. Seddon, 

" Secretary e/War.'- 

THE PRACTICE OF WAR; being a Translation of a French Military Work ; to 
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